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NBA Veteran Al Horford, Whose ‘Purpose in Life Is To Please God,’ Faces the Team That Drafted Him in First Round of Playoffs

Al Horford
Boston Celtics' Al Horford leaves the court after defeating the Atlanta Hawks in the Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

As the Boston Celtics have taken a two-game lead over the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, veteran center Al Horford is leading with his faith while facing off against the team that originally drafted him in 2007. 

Last year, the Celtics went all the way to the NBA Finals, but ultimately lost the series to the Golden State Warriors. Horford is hoping for a different outcome this year.

A five-time All-Star, Horford has contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds in the first two games of the series. 

Speaking about Horford in an interview following the first game of the series, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla said, “Any time he speaks, everybody listens, because of his humility, his selflessness, and his leadership. [He’s] always looking to make the right play.”

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Horford has often been vocal about his faith through the years. 

“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,” he said in a 2021 interview with NBA.com. “Based on that, that’s how I go about my life, and then the rest of everything will fall in place.”

During an interview with Sports Spectrum at the beginning of this season, Horford said that while he did not have a relationship with God when he began his NBA career, over the years, his faith has become central to his life.

“This is what I live by, you know, my faith—my faith in Jesus Christ. And what he’s done in my life is what I live for,” Horford said. “It’s been a beautiful journey for me. God has spoken to my heart, and great things have come out of that. You know, blessings in my spiritual life, but also blessings with my family and my career, in many different ways.”

Describing his journey of spiritual growth through the years, Horford said that it has “been a process.” 

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“Even talking about it—talking about it publicly or addressing it in an interview and things like that—I’ve always been very reserved and more private,” Horford said. “But I was at the point that I was like, you know what, I need to let people know that a lot of these things and all the success that I’m having is because of my faith and because of God’s Word in me.”