Staying grounded in faith is very important for some
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
Contrary to what many people might think about fasting while playing sports, this basketball player finds much strength during the holy month.
Many athletes won’t likely be seeing too much of a change in their daily regimen this month. However, the same cannot be said for many Muslim NBA players who are currently participating in the holy month of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a month where Muslims from around the world fast and look to get closer to their faith. This includes abstaining from food and water from sunset to sundown. One could only imagine the kind of sacrifice this would be for professional athletes who use food and water as fuel.
Enes Kanter, forward for the Portland Trail Blazers, has been partaking in the holy month ever since he was nine years old and is still doing it while playing. Contrary to what many people might think, Kanter finds much strength during the holy month. “Whenever the Ramadan time comes, it gives me so much mental strength, and it’s like my superpowers come back,” Kanter said to NBCSports. “It just feels amazing out there because I know that I’m doing something that I’m supposed to do, but at the same time, I’m playing basketball.”
The last time Kanter fasted while playing was during the 2019 playoffs. He and the Trail Blazers had made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals that year. During that time, Kanter would wake up at around 3:30am to get as much food and water in his system as he can before sunrise. After that, he would go about the rest of his day going to practice, lifting weights, and sometimes have a game the same day. Kanter would then break his fast after sundown with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruits, Gatorade, and water.
He also looked to NBA legend and Muslim Hakeem Olajuwon, who also fasted during his day and won the 1994-95 NBA MVP while doing so. Kanter texted Olajuwon on the first day of Ramadan that year on how he arranged his routine. He says the biggest piece of advice Olajuwon gave him was to keep focusing on his faith and be an example for people around the world.
This year, Kanter is also joined by teammates Jusuf Nurkić and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson Jr, who are also Muslims. Kanter hopes to use his influence to inspire many young Muslims from around the world: “I just want to go out there and show the example off to all the young generation,” said Kanter in an interview with ESPN’s Doris Burke.