Veteran center Horford aims to please God on road to NBA championship

Despite being just four wins from his first NBA title, veteran NBA center Al Horford is keeping his focus on pleasing God.

As the Boston Celtics await their NBA Finals matchup, the 37-year-old…

Despite being just four wins from his first NBA title, veteran NBA center Al Horford is keeping his focus on pleasing God.

As the Boston Celtics await their NBA Finals matchup, the 37-year-old knows this trip to the Finals may be his last shot to win a championship.

Despite his age, Horford is having one of the best postseasons of his career. Twice he has set a new career high for three-point shots in a game, hitting seven in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Horford’s resurgence defied logic as he was averaging the lowest point total of his career during the season while playing a backup role to Kristaps Porzingis.  

But when Porzingis went down in the first round of the playoffs with a calf strain, Horford stepped up in a big way. 

His teammates were quick to shower the veteran with praise after he posted 22 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in the Celtics’ closeout game in the Eastern Semifinals. 

“[Horford’s] performance, his energy, his leadership tonight was crucial,” said Celtics star Jayson Tatum. “Obviously his character, how he treats everybody, how everybody respects him – he always puts the team first. He’s always been like that, and he just kind of sets the tone.”  

Even as media outlets and his head coach heaped praise on him, Horford was quick to redirect the attention to Christ. 

“First of all, for me, I have to give glory to the Lord,” Horford said to begin the postgame press conference. 

Though Horford isn’t shy about sharing his faith nowadays, he confessed in an interview with Sports Spectrum last year that he wasn’t always so bold.  

In fact, Horford didn’t even have a relationship with God when he entered the NBA in 2007. 

But as his career progressed, he came to know Christ and developed the conviction he had to share the good news with others. 

“One of the things that I always felt was that I had to speak about it. I had to speak about my faith,” he said. “I had to speak about all the wonders that God has done in my life and how much he has changed me. Because He has. And over the years, I’ve seen that change in me for the better. 

“He’s my Savior, but also, He’s given me so much. In every phase of my life, I see God’s hand. Every day when I pray, I’m always giving thanks and giving Him the glory for so many things.”  

Horford, who is from the Dominican Republic, initially read the Bible in his native Spanish, but began reading in English so he could effectively share his Christian faith in multiple languages. 

Though Horford likely has his last, best chance to win what has been an elusive NBA Championship, he is even more determined to glorify Christ. 

“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,” Horford told NBA.com in 2021. “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, being the best father, the best husband and just trying to help anybody I can along the way.” 

The NBA Finals start June 6, where the Celtics will face off against either the Minnesota Timberwolves or the Dallas Mavericks.