By Chad Bonham
When Nike released the 2015 edition of Kevin Durant’s signature shoes (KD 8s), it wasn’t a surprise the sneakers included a Bible verse and biblical imagery. By then, the perennial NBA All-Star had become known for stashing a Bible in his backpack and leading his teammates to pre-game chapel services.
On the top of the shoes were numerous angels flying across beams of light. On the inside heel was stitched “M11:29” with the corresponding New Testament verse prominently displayed on the insole.
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29/NIV)
But four years earlier, fans were taken off guard when the otherwise clean-cut Durant revealed he had multiple tattoos on his chest and stomach including two paraphrased Bible verses: “Walk by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7) on the right side of his stomach and “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33).
That same year, Durant talked to Beliefnet about the struggle to stay humble while living in the spotlight, and referenced another Bible verse in the process:
“In the Bible, the Lord exalts humility (Matthew 23:12) and that’s one thing I try to be all the time—in front of people when I’m talking to people or when people tell me I’m great, I (remind myself that I) can always be better,” he said. “I always work on what I have now. I’ve just got to be thankful to the Lord for the gifts He’s given me. My gift back to Him is to always be humble and to always try to work as hard as I can. I’ve got to continue to be that way.”
In 2013, Durant added another sizeable ink mural to his back that featured religious symbolism such as a cross, a portrait of Jesus, and an angel (holding a basketball). But the majority of his skin was covered with the words from another one of his favorite New Testament passages:
“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” (James 1:2-4/MSG)
“I read my Bible now all the time,” Durant told Beyond The Ultimate. “The Bible both pumps me up and balances me to play my best, but it also tells me more about the Lord and how I can live for Him and what all He has done for me.”
This devotional is brought to you by Museum of the Bible, a 430,000 square foot museum being constructed 3 blocks south of the US Capitol in Washington, D.C. and is set to open in November of 2017.
(Photos: globalite; NBAE via Getty Images)