Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Justin Holiday traded to Memphis Grizzlies as NBA's brother trio continues to shine

In an effort to keep pace in the tight Western Conference, the Memphis Grizzlies traded for Chicago Bulls guard Justin Holiday, it was announced Thursday night. The Bulls receive 2019 and 2020 second-round picks, along with forward Wayne Selden and guard MarShon Brooks.

For Holiday, it will mark his sixth NBA team since debuting with Philadelphia in April 2013. Undrafted out of the University of Washington, Holiday also played overseas (Belgium and Hungary) and in the NBA G League (Idaho and Santa Cruz) before sticking in the NBA. But he became a full-time starter with Chicago last season, when he averaged a career-high 12.2 points per game.

This season, Holiday is averaging 11.6 points a game and a career-high 34.9 minutes. He’s firmly established now, which made him a sought-after piece to add to a Memphis team that missed the playoffs in 2017-18 after advancing to the postseason seven years straight. The Grizzlies finished 22-60 last season, but are 18-19 this year through Thursday, currently sitting in 10th place in the West but just 2.5 games out of the final playoff spot.

Not only does the move put Holiday on a better team (Chicago is 10-28), but it also puts him in the same division as his younger brother, Jrue, the starting point guard for New Orleans. The brothers have squared off numerous times before, but will meet for the first time as division foes on Monday when Memphis travels to New Orleans.

Justin and Jrue will meet again Jan. 21 in Memphis (televised on TNT), and later that week, Justin will face his other younger brother, Aaron, a rookie point guard with the Indiana Pacers (Jan. 26).

Aaron, selected 23rd overall by Indiana in the 2018 NBA Draft, is the youngest of the Holiday brothers. Upon Aaron’s selection, the Holidays became the second trio of brothers in the NBA. Marshall, Mason and Miles Plumlee were the other threesome, but Marshall is currently out of the NBA, giving the Holidays that sole distinction.

Even LeBron James has recognized the tough feat it is to get three brothers in the NBA at the same time:

In addition to being among the best basketball players in the world, the Holidays are also strong men of faith. Justin, for example, says on his Twitter profile, “Everything Happens In God’s Time. His Plan Is The Best Plan, And I Am Enjoying How He Is Blessing Me. #GodIsGood… Psalms 23.” And he often posts Scripture:

Jrue shared with Sports Spectrum last year how he grew closer to the Lord while enduring the scariest year of his life. “I would say [our relationship with God] changed because I started to reach more towards Him.”

And Aaron quotes Isaiah 40:31 in his Twitter profile: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

The Holiday brothers’ faith stems from their parents. Toya and Shawn Holiday were very intentional about raising their children (which includes sister Lauren) to follow Christ.

“They don’t come out the womb that way. You have to work on it,” Toya told the Indy Star, adding, “You have to work on the person you want to be. When people look at you, what do you want them to see?”

“You have to remind them, ‘Hey, come on,’” Shawn said. “You want Him to shine so if somebody comes to the game, even a little kid, you don’t want him to take home that ugliness. You want him to take home the goodness. You carry yourself in that way.”

Memphis, which started the season 12-5 but has gone 6-14 since, hosts Brooklyn on Friday night and travels to San Antonio on Saturday before facing Jrue Holiday’s Pelicans on Monday.

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