Winter 2023

Bucks' All-Star Jrue Holiday believes 'in a God that loves me' as he matches career high

There was only one number on Jrue Holiday’s mind after his Milwaukee Bucks beat the Boston Celtics in overtime Tuesday night. It wasn’t the 40 points he scored — tying a career high — or the career-high eight 3-pointers he hit — one of which was the game-winner with 25 seconds left.

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Holiday said in his postgame press conference there is just one statistic he cares about.

“The only stat I look at is turnovers,” he explained. “That’s kind of how I determine if I had a good or bad game. Tonight, what did I have, five turnovers? To me, that hurts my soul.”

Everybody else was more focused on the seven assists, five rebounds, three steals, game-winning shot and even the buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter that accompanied his 40 points.

After Boston hit a three to send the game to overtime, the Celtics scored the first five points of the extra segment. Holiday took over from there. He knocked down a pair of free throws and picked Derrick White’s pocket to cut the deficit to one before hitting the decisive shot.

“I think for me, it doesn’t matter if I score,” Holiday said. “I would like to make plays on defense most of the time I’m on the court. We have enough guys that are going to score … I try to do my best to impact the defense.”

His performance reminded everyone why he is headed to the All-Star Game this weekend. Holiday’s other All-Star selection was in 2013, making it the longest gap between All-Star appearances in NBA history.

The 19.5 points, 7.1 assists and 5.2 rebounds Holiday is averaging this season are the most since he was traded to the Bucks ahead of the 2020-21 season. He contributed 17.3 points and 8.7 assists per game in the playoffs that season as Milwaukee went on to win the championship.

Holiday gave glory to God during the team’s title celebration and called being traded to Milwaukee the “greatest thing in my career.”

“This is such a blessing, man. This is only God,” he said that night. “Like I said before, as a kid, you only dream of this moment, so to be able to actually do it, to see the confetti, to do it with my brothers, there’s nothing like it.”

Holiday has long leaned on his faith, especially when a tumor was discovered on the brain of his wife, Lauren, while she was pregnant with their daughter in 2016. The tumor was removed a month after Lauren — a former U.S. women’s national team soccer player — gave birth.

In a recent interview with NBA.com, Holiday was asked how his faith helps him stay resilient during the low points he experiences both personally and professionally. The 32-year-old mentioned the importance of open communication with family and then discussed his faith in God.

“There are times we can share sorrows and hurts,” he said. “You help each other through that. At the same time, I believe in a God that loves me and gave me a second chance at life. He’s always going to love me through my sins and wrongdoings. I definitely have faith.”

On Instagram, Holiday says in his bio, “We most bear resemblance to Christ, when we bear another’s burden,” which references Galatians 6:2.

Holiday discussed more of his faith journey in a 2020 interview with Rusty George, a pastor in California.

“Making Christ a priority is huge, because without Him, I wouldn’t be here. None of us would,” Holiday said.

Tuesday’s victory was the Bucks’ 40th of the season (40-17) and leaves them half a game back of the Celtics (41-17) for the best record in the NBA. Milwaukee’s final game before the All-Star break is Thursday against the Chicago Bulls.

Sunday’s All-Star Game, beginning with a draft, gets going at 7:30 p.m. ET from Salt Lake City.

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