NBA Star Who Stood for National Anthem About to Get Huge Payday


Jonathan Isaac, the NBA star who made international headlines for opposing his team’s kneeling during the National Anthem, just signed an enormous eight-figure contract extension, another indication that the league’s racial reckoning in the wake of George Floyd’s 2020 death is subsiding.

Isaac, who is Black, proudly stood at the beginning of each game in the 2020-2021 season as the Orlando Magic navigated cultural landmines about to what extent players should address the long-simmering debate about police brutality among African-Americans. Rather than take a knee, a popular form dissent at the time, Isaac stood and bowed his head at the National Anthem played.

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Politics don’t appear to have played a role in the Magic’s decision to renew Isaac’s contract to the tune of $84 million over five years, according to Fox News. It will keep the 26-year-old on the court into 2029. A native of New York, Isaac had a standout collegiate career at Florida State before receiving a first-round pick by the Magic in 2017. His auspices have only grown since then; in the 2023-2024 season Isaac played in 58 games, the most of his career, while averaging 6.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. For his efforts Isaac was among the youngest players to receive votes for the league’s 6th Player of the Year Award.

His patriotism first captured the public’s imagination at a time when the NBA was reeling from both the Black Lives Matter protests and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, forcing the league into an awkward season where players were confined to separate “bubbles” and games were held in airtight, empty arenas. Isaac has previously opened up about the tremendous pressure he and his teammates were under to use their positions to address the racial unrest roiling the country.

“For me, that was kind of the highlight of my early career of being in the NBA, was 2020. It was after the tragic death of George Floyd, and we were ushered into the NBA ‘bubble,’ where there was just so much pressure,” Isaac told OutKick contributor Riley Gaines on her “Gaines for Girls” podcast in October. Not even just in the bubble, but just around the world with the rise of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement.”

“For me, it was simply about offering another solution. I saw the issue. I saw the problem. I saw what happened to George Floyd. And as I listened to the tone and the rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter organization and movement, I never truly felt comfortable,” he added. Isaac has also attacked other liberal NBA stars like Charles Barkley for defending the inclusion of transgender athletes in women’s sports and launched his own athletic apparels brand rooted in Christian values.

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Scoop Diggins