Boston Celtics, NBA champions: “Glory to God!”

Dominican veteran player Al Horford became a key part of the victory. He thanked God in Spanish as he received the trophy. Head coach Joe Mazzulla also spoke clearly about his Christian faith.

Evangelical Focus

Protestante Digital, Sport&Spectrum · BOSTON · 19 JUNE 2024 · 17:06 CET

Al Horford is the first player born in the Dominican Republic to win an NBA Championship. / <a target="_blank" href="">@NBA</a>,
Al Horford is the first player born in the Dominican Republic to win an NBA Championship. / @NBA

The Boston Celtics won the 2024 NBA Finals after defeating the Dallas Mavericks by a final score of 4-1.

The green team won its 18th title, becoming the most successful franchise in the US basketball championship.

Among the players who played a major role during the season and in these Finals was veteran Al Horford. Born in the Dominican Republic, now 38 and with an extensive career, he finally got his championship ring.

Horford scored nine points and caught nine rebounds on Monday. With him on the court, Boston outscored Dallas by 20.

“The glory to God”

Horford is a Christian, and one of the most outspoken players about the importance of faith in Jesus in his daily life. In the interview at the trophy ceremony, he was very emotional and said in Spanish: “The glory to God, the glory to God!”.

At the press conference, he showed his gratitude to God again. “I know I've said it before but I want to give glory to the Lord, for putting me in this position. It's been a lot of years. I don't think it has sunk in yet”.


Outspoken about his faith

Horford regularly mentions God after games and shares his faith publicly very often.

In a 2021 interview with he pointed out that "my whole purpose in life is to please God, to ensure I’m doing His will and that I’m living my life in that example”.

“That’s how I go about my life and then the rest of everything will fall in place, whether it’s me being a basketball player, the best father, the best husband and just trying to help anybody I can along the way”, Horford said.

In a podcast about his life, the player said that “every day when I pray, I'm always giving thanks and giving Him the glory for so many things”. The veteran player and now NBA champion reads the Bible every day in Spanish, and despite being on the road all season, he seeks to congregate whenever possible.


Tatum: “God is the greatest”

One of the stars of the Boston Celtics team, Jayson Tatum, also gave thanks to God after finishing the game.

“First of all, God is the greatest. Not 'cause we won, but to put me in positions to maximize my God-given ability, to surround me with these guys, my family, this is an incredible feeling”, said Tatum in his post-game interview.




“Jesus' leadership style”

Much of the success of the Boston Celtics, a team that had completed a great regular season and has confirmed its superiority in the playoffs, has to do with the good team dynamic achieved by the technical staff.

Joe Mazzulla is in his second year as head coach this season. He wore a T-shirt with the slogan: “But first... let me thank God” to celebrate the victory.

The coach, who is a Roman Catholic, has also spoken over the years about the importance of his faith in Jesus in his life, both in interviews and in post-game statements.

In 2022, he explained that “the part of Christ that I resonate the most with is His leadership style, there’s a reason why 2,023 years later, there’s still people talking about Him. He did something right. Just learning from those leadership values is fun”.

Boston Celtics, NBA champions: “Glory to God!”

Mazzulla, with a T-shirt thanking God and the NBA champions trophy. / Sports&Spectrum


Identity and grace

With a complicated personal history, in which he was arrested in his youth, Mazzulla told how he refocused his life after a genuine encounter with Christ.

“As you grow as a person, you are constantly having to build an identity. I didn’t have one at a certain point in my life for whatever reason. You have to find a foundation, and for me that’s my faith”, pointed out the coach.

In another interview he said that the competitive world of basketball in which he has lived most of his life made it difficult for him “to fully accept something without first being able to earn it or deserve it”.

“I really had to understand grace, and when I had the ability to understand grace, I understood surrender. When I understood surrender, I understood the balance of pride and humility, where it plays into my heart and into my relationship with Christ”, concluded Mazzulla.

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