LOS ANGELES -- With the Sixers now halfway through a 12-day Western Conference road trip, point guard Jrue Holiday will get a refreshing taste of home, when the Sixers travel to his hometown of Los Angeles for a New Year's Day meeting with the Lakers.
Holiday, whose inspired play this season – 18.6 PPG (45.1 FG%), 8.9 APG, 4.1 RPG – has earned him serious consideration both for Most Improved Player and for his first All-Star bid, is an LA lifer. Born in the Chatsworth district of Los Angeles, he attended Campbell Hall High School in North Hollywood and later played at UCLA for one season before declaring for the 2009 NBA Draft.
"I think everyone wants to beat the Lakers," Holiday said of returning to Los Angeles. "But I'm more excited just to be home."
Since leaving L.A. for Philadelphia, his younger brother and sister have taken over the Holiday legacy back home.
Aaron Holiday, a sophomore at Campbell Hall High School, is one of the top recruits for the class of 2015. A 6-2 combo guard, he led his team in scoring as a freshman, averaging 24.3 points per game. This season, he's led relative underdog Campbell Hall to an 8-3 start (the team went 12-19 last season), again playing the role of lead scorer.
Lauren Holiday is a freshman on the women's basketball team at UCLA. She, too, was a standout at Campbell Hall, earning a top-100 national ranking as a prep-to-college prospect last season. She and Kari Korver, cousin of former Sixer Kyle Korver, form two-thirds of UCLA's freshman class.
In addition to the three aforementioned Holidays, there is their eldest sibling, Justin, who played with Jrue at Campbell Hall for three seasons. Some might remember Justin Holiday from his brief stint with the Sixers this summer as a member of the team's Summer League roster. He and Jrue led Campbell Hall to a 33-1 record and a State Class IV Championship in 2006-07. A 6-6 forward, he went on to attend University of Washington, where he was a team captain and Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year award winner as a senior. He now plays with the Idaho Stampede of the NBA's Developmental League.
Indeed, Jrue has benefitted greatly from growing up in a basketball family, as have all his siblings.
"They're different types of players," said the father of the Holiday household, Shawn Holiday, of his two eldest children. "Jrue's more the aggressive one – he'll put that ball in the hole. Justin was more the defensive one, so them playing together really allowed Jrue to develop offensively."
While Jrue and Justin have both left their hometown to pursue their basketball aspirations professionally, they still return to Los Angeles when they can to be with family.
"In the summers, they go out in the yard and play – usually two-on-two, with Jrue and Aaron going against Justin and Lauren," said father Shawn. "They all work out together, too – especially Jrue and Justin.
"Those backyard games were very competitive when they were younger. They would get so into it that I'd have to stop them – it would get a little heated."
It is no coincidence that each of the Holiday children has excelled in basketball. They get that from their parents.
Shawn Holiday played two collegiate seasons at powerhouse Arizona State (1981-83), before transferring to Division II Cal State Los Angeles. His wife, and the mother of the four Holiday children, Toya also played at Arizona State. She is now a dean, women's athletic director, and the coach of the women's basketball team at Campbell Hall.
"The good lord blessed them with the talent," said Shawn. "My wife and I just tried to harness that talent to get them where they wanted to be. I was always the defensive guy; their mom was the offensive one. She loved to score, and I could too, a little bit, but I was a defensive player."
Jrue Holiday will make his LA return when the Sixers and Lakers face off at Staples Center on New Year's Day.
Updated: 2:40 PM, December 31, 2012