Andre Iguodala Thanks God, Credits Christian Faith With Warriors Win; Says Team 'Believes God Has a Purpose'

( [email protected] ) Jun 18, 2015 02:05 PM EDT
Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors forward who won this season's NBA championship with his team Tuesday night as well as the MVP award, credited God for his success, explaining that his team is "full of believers."
Golden State Warriors guard Andre Iguodala (9) talks to the media after winning the NBA Finals MVP after game six of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Photo: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Andre Iguodala, the Golden State Warriors forward who won this season's NBA championship with his team Tuesday night, credited God with his success, explaining that his team is "full of believers."

During the postgame interview on Tuesday night, Iguodala, who was also named MVP of the NBA finals following his team's win, was asked by reporters about his approach to the game.

"First of all, God is great. God is great," Iguodala said.

"I want to thank all the chaplains across the NBA for helping us out every single night," he continued. "This is awesome. We talked about about staying strong - stay with it. We modeled the whole playoffs, stay with it. They kept fighting. This is unreal. Unreal."

In a separate post game interview, the 31-year-old athlete was asked, "In what way did your sacrifice of coming off the bench embody the sacrifice of this entire group?"

"We got a team full of believers. We all go to chapel before every game. We all believe and we all say God has a way for you - a purpose for you. This is my purpose," he responded.

He later added, "I want to be just like Steph (Curry) when I grow up - just a God fearing man, great guy."

Stephen Curry, the Warriors' point guard who received the regular season MVP honor, is known for his dedication to his Christian faith, both on and off the basketball court. In demonstrating his faith, Curry often points his fingers toward the sky after making big plays. While accepting the MVP award in May, the athlete credited his strong Christianity for his success.

"Sometimes people make it seem like you have to have certain prerequisites or a crazy life story in order to be successful in this world. But the truth is you really don't," said Curry. "It doesn't matter where you come from, what you have or don't have, what you lack or what you have too much of. But all you need to have is faith in God, an undying passion for what you do and what you choose to do in this life, and a relentless drive and the will to do whatever it takes to be successful in whatever you put your mind to."

In the past, Curry has also explained that he wants to point the people "the Man who died for our sins on the cross. I know I have a place in Heaven waiting for me because of Him, and that's something no earthly prize or trophy could ever top." 

Before this season, Iguodala had started 758 consecutive games, according to ESPN. However, this season, he was relegated to a reserve role until Game 4 of the finals between the Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, when he was substituted into the starting lineup for center Andrew Bogut.

The Warriors beat the Cavaliers 105-97 Tuesday night to win their first NBA title since 1975. Iguodala's MVP award was also the first time a player got the award without starting every game.

Iguodala's faith not only affects his behavior on the court, but off the court as well. The athlete, who became a Christian at a young age thanks to the influence of his God-fearing grandmother, has established the Andre Iguodala Youth Foundation, whose stated mission is to use sports as a means to help youths. The organization has hosted basketball camps and the annual "Thanksgiving with Dre", which has distributed food baskets to families in need.

"Faith is something I heavily lean on to give me that balance. I make sure I stay in chapel and have a good relationship with our chaplain," he told the Christian Messenger back in 2012. "It keeps me focused ... When people see us on the court, we want them to see God's work. We want to be a good representation of what we believe in ...When you go out there, you're not just representing your country or the NBA, you're representing your beliefs. You want to play hard for someone who died for you".

Speaking on Tuesday night, Iguodala, who was flanked by one of his two young children while receiving the MVP award, said it was "great" to have his son standing next time during such a pivotal moment in his career.

"We're gonna remember this for a long time," he beamed.