In American Sports, the Bible Is Ever-Present

May 20, 2024 | Kelsey Dallas
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One piece of evidence of the enduring legacy of the Bible in America’s culture is the regularity and comfort with which its athletes quote Scripture. Kelsey Dallas takes a closer look:

What you might not realize is that such shoutouts to scripture appeared in sports media as early as the late 19th century, when today’s major leagues were taking shape. For example, Amos Alonzo Stagg, a star pitcher for Yale University who became a prominent football coach, spoke in the 1880s about turning to Ecclesiastes 9:10 during games.

The New York Knicks star Josh Hart offered an impromptu Bible lesson . . . when asked about how he takes on the mental and physical challenge of playing all 48 minutes of an NBA playoff game. . . . “The whole game, I was reciting Isaiah 40:29, ‘For the weak, he renews strength,’” Hart said. . . . In April, he shared a different verse from Isaiah 40 after his team beat the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their first-round series. . . . Two days later, he spotlighted Proverbs 11:2. It reads, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Of course, Hart and the other athletes Dallas profiles quote the New Testament too. Since it might be of interest to Mosaic readers, I kept score: the result was a tie.

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