Justin Holiday to Play in Orlando, Use Platform to Advocate for Change
Pacers forward Justin Holiday plans to join the Pacers for the 2019-20 NBA season restart in Orlando, where he intends to use his platform as an NBA player to speak out against social injustice and advocate for change.
The 31-year-old forward announced his intentions in a moving essay on The Players' Tribune on Tuesday. The Indianapolis Star had previously reported that Holiday was undecided on whether or not he would play in Orlando.
As the NBA plans to return after a four-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many players across the league have had serious discussions about whether or not they will play in Orlando. For Holiday, who is set to be a free agent after this season and has a wife and two young children, it was a multi-faceted decision.
Ultimately, Holiday concluded that it was the right decision for him to play.
"More than ever, there is a dire need now to elevate my Black brothers and sisters, to use my platform to empower and elevate our people," Holiday wrote.
Holiday discussed feeling hurt during past instances of social injustice, but channeling that hurt internally.
"I was worried about speaking out and losing my job," he wrote on Tuesday. "But I fear that no more."
Holiday said the recent killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have moved him to take action, like so many people have across the country, demanding change and an end to longstanding social and racial injustices.
Holiday has taken action, including recently participating in a march in Indianapolis, where he was joined by his younger brother Aaron, Pacers head coach Nate McMillan, and Pacers President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard, among others. On Tuesday, he pledged to continue to use his platform to call for change.
"I am a proud Black man, a man who has been mistreated due to the color of his skin, yet I have also been blessed to have crushed the odds against reaching the pinnacle of my profession," Holiday wrote.
"And now I'm going to use my rights and unique platform to advocate for change. My open letter to the world is a public commitment to the work you can expect from me, Justin Holiday."
To read Holiday's full letter, visit The Players' Tribune.