Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Pelicans' Jrue Holiday, wife Lauren will use NBA game checks to create social justice fund

For New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, the NBA’s July 30 restart inside the bubble at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex will mark more than simply a return to playing the game he loves. He and his wife, former U.S. soccer star Lauren Holiday, see an opportunity for important and lasting social change.

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On Wednesday, the couple announced that the remainder of Jrue’s game checks from the 2020 NBA season would go toward helping launch the Jrue and Lauren Holiday Social Justice Impact Fund, designed to combat systemic racism and the social and economic inequality the black community faces.

“These funds will go to Black-led nonprofits, programs and institutions of higher learning in the cities of New Orleans, L.A., Compton, and Indianapolis, as well as to Black-owned small businesses in 10 cities that have been devastated by the impact of COVID-19, but are now known to have received less than 2% of the Paycheck Protection Program loans provided,” Lauren and Jrue both wrote in Instagram posts.

According to an article by ESPN, Jrue’s remaining game checks could be worth up to $5.3 million. The Holidays have already committed $500,000 to institutions of higher learning, especially historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Jrue and Lauren focused their efforts on cities that held a special place in their hearts. Jrue plays in New Orleans and his family is from the Los Angeles area. Meanwhile, Lauren is from Indianapolis and Jrue’s two brothers are also in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers.

“God has blessed us with so much,” Jrue told ESPN. “We know a couple of things that are important are time and money, and right now, we have both. To be able to give away our money to help further this movement and black-owned businesses that have taken a hit in COVID-19, to us, it felt like the perfect time and opportunity.”

Jrue and Lauren are both believers and have spoken about their faith in Christ throughout their careers. With the fear and uncertainty in America today as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the racial unrest have gripped the country, both Jrue and Lauren have turned to God for comfort.

On a 2018 episode of the Sports Spectrum Podcast, Jrue explained how prayer has been important in his life and his marriage, especially when Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor while she was pregnant in 2016 and the doctors had to induce labor 5.5 weeks early.

“[Lauren and I] would pray together before we go to sleep at night,” he said, “pray for our daughter, pray for our health. It brought us closer together.”

Later, he added, “[I] tell God what I need and thank Him for everything He’s done.”

The couple’s daughter, Jrue Tyler Holiday, is healthy and they are expecting to have a baby boy later this year.

In 2015, as Lauren’s run with the United States Women’s National Team was wrapping up, she made a video with FCA discussing her faith.

“I get to play with freedom because I don’t have to worry about how I score or if I score or what happens if we lose, or if I make a bad pass because success isn’t determined on that with Christ,” she said. “… When I walk away, my identity is still the same. I’m still a follower of Jesus Christ. In a loss or in success, I can still be humble and give Him the glory.”

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