Who Is the Patron Saint of Basketball?

The Christian patron saint of basketball players and other athletes is Saint Sebastian. He is venerated in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. His feast day is Jan. 20 for the former and Dec. 18 for the latter.

In addition to athletes, Saint Sebastian is the patron of soldiers, archers, the holy Christian dead and those who suffer from plague. Traditionally, he is depicted as being tied to a stake and shot with arrows. This is a reference to his martyrdom in 288 A.D. The Roman emperor Diocletian ordered Sebastian’s execution as a part of ongoing persecution of Christians. The legend describes that he survived the arrows and was rescued by Irene of Rome.