Jrue Holiday, point guard for the New Orleans Pelicans, and wife Lauren Holiday, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the Women’s Soccer Team, are expecting their first child at some point during the NBA’s 2016-17 season.
Unfortunately, the couple was not expecting health problems to accompany their baby, and Lauren was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on the right side of her brain in late June, according to Jeff Duncan of NOLA.com. At just 28, Lauren retired from the national team to focus on starting a family with her husband.
The surgery will need to wait until after Lauren delivers their new-born, but, fortunately, the child will be affected by the operation, and Lauren will return to full health after the tumor is removed. Subsequently, Holiday will miss the start of the NBA season, and there’s no timetable for his return. Holiday said that “my family comes before basketball. I’m obviously blessed to play this game and be in the position I am in, but my wife is the most important thing in the world to me. She comes before anything else.”
The 26-year-old floor general has struggled to stay healthy since being acquired by the Pelicans and hasn’t played more than 65 games in a season since his All-Star campaign back in 2012-13. He’s fully healthy and would bring New Orleans back to relevancy with his play, but being around for the well-being of his family dwarfs any of his on-court commitments.
Through 65 games last season, Holiday averaged 16.8 points and 6.0 assists in 28.2 minutes per game.
Holiday has been nothing but grateful for how the Pelicans have handled his situation, and head coach Alvin Gentry issued a statement wishing nothing but the best for the young point guard and his family:
“The most important thing for Jrue to do right now is be with his wife and family. Every one of our coaches and players understands what Lauren and Jrue are going through, and they know we’re behind them 100 percent. We’ll continue to do everything we can to support them and help them get through these hard times.”
In his absence, Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans–if they remain healthy–will be the driving forces for New Orleans. Other guards like Buddy Hield, E’Twaun Moore, and Langston Galloway will help fill the backcourt rotation, but it’ll be hard for any of them to replicate what Holiday does on-court.
Stats courtesy of Basketball-Reference
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