Fall 2021 SS Magazine

NBA brothers Justin, Aaron, Jrue Holiday made NBA history, share faith in Christ

A bit of history was made Saturday night in New Orleans, when the Pelicans beat the Indiana Pacers, 120-98. The matchup marked the first time in history that three brothers all logged minutes in the same NBA game.

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Jrue Holiday, a starting guard for the Pelicans, poured in 20 points and dished out seven assists, while Aaron Holiday scored a game-high 25 points as a starting guard for the Pacers. Justin Holiday recorded 27 minutes off the Pacers’ bench but did not record a point.

The Holiday brothers had roughly 30 family members in attendance on Saturday, while their parents, Shawn and Toya, cheered them on from courtside seats. All three brothers played in the first quarter, yet due to substitution patterns, the Holiday family had to wait until the 4:54 mark of the third quarter to see them all on the court together.

“It’s a blessing. There’s no other way to put it,” Shawn Holiday said to ESPN before the game. “You couldn’t write the script any better than this. Them growing up, you couldn’t envision this. For it to come true at this stage and this level, it’s pretty amazing.”

Jrue Holiday was simply relieved his team came out on top, and he would be sure to remind his brothers of the outcome.

“It was cool,” he told ESPN. “I beat them and I got their jerseys, so I’ll hang those up.”

Jrue, 29, is the longest tenured NBA player of the three. He entered the league out of UCLA in 2009 as the 17th overall pick of the Philadelphia 76ers. He was named to the All-Star team in 2013 and the All-Defensive first team in 2018.

Justin, 30, is actually a year older than Jrue but didn’t make his NBA debut until 2013 after a four-year career at Washington and a couple of stints overseas and in the G-League. His first action in the NBA also came with the 76ers while Jrue was on the team. Justin has suited up for six other NBA teams since.

Aaron is the youngest of the trio at 23. Like Jrue, he attended UCLA. He was drafted 23rd overall by the Pacers in 2018.

Yet, a love and talent for basketball isn’t the only thing the Holiday brothers have in common. They all profess a faith in Christ that was instilled in them from a young age by their parents. On Saturday morning in New Orleans before that night’s game, Justin, Jrue and Aaron met up to enjoy brunch together. Jrue led the group in prayer before they ate.

Justin mentions his faith often on Twitter, where his bio says, “Everything Happens In God’s Time. His Plan Is the Best Plan. And I Am Enjoying How He Is Blessing Me. #GodIsGood … Psalms 23”

Jrue was a guest on the Sports Spectrum Podcast two years ago, when he discussed some of the most difficult moments of his life, including when Jrue’s pregnant wife Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the doctors were forced to induce labor 5.5 weeks early. Lauren had successful surgery and the couple has a healthy daughter. Jrue said he grew immensely in his relationship with Christ during that time.

“I would say [our relationship with God] changed because I started to reach more towards Him,” Jrue said. “… Some people veer away from Him but at that point I felt like, because my wife and myself are both believers, we [prayed] together and that’s something that we could just do together. We just pray together every night before we go to sleep. Pray for our daughter, pray for her health.”

The youngest brother Aaron references Scripture on his Twitter page as well, quoting Isaiah 40:31: “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.”

While the three brothers enjoyed making history together this week, they also know they will be walking together with Christ for the rest of their lives.

The Pelicans and Pacers are scheduled to play again Feb. 8 in Indiana.

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