Transcript: Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday media availability - July 1, 2020

Jrue Holiday Media Availability – July 1, 2020

On what these past few months have been like for him:
“I wouldn’t say relaxing. There’s been a lot of things that you have to stay on your toes about. At first it was just whether the season was coming back, so you couldn’t really take a break from that. Once the season was coming back, when it was actually coming back, then just ramping up when you had to be back in market. It’s been fun, it’s been somewhat relaxing, but at the same time you still have to stay on mentally.”

On if he has made a decision about playing in Orlando:
“I’m here and I’m going. I kind of feel like if I wasn’t going I wouldn’t be here. Making that decision with my wife – I’m pretty sure everybody here knows the history with our first child. This one is great so far. My wife is healthy and they baby’s healthy. I’m here to support my teammates. I’m here to support this culture that we want to build that we’ve put together. At the same time, I’m here to go down to Orlando and try to win.”

On the process of he and his wife Lauren making the decision to play:
“It was difficult. During this pandemic you kind of got to a point where you got used to ‘regular life’. Having a consistent routine every single day – especially when you have kids – taking care of your kids, putting them down to sleep. I think the biggest part of coming back was, for one, for (Lauren), hopefully I’ll be back by the time she has our next child. I think just being able for her to find help. Being in California, my family is out there, her family will probably come out. A challenge, yes. But I think it’s worth it, and that’s why I’m here.”

On what his focus has been to stay physically ready for basketball:
“That was exactly it, really. Just staying physically ready. Being able to kind of take a step back, not do too much basketball stuff, but still be able to get in good work in the weight room and on the field, doing things fun to kind of clear your mind of basketball, per se, to get a release from that. Once it’s time to get back in the gym, I felt better and felt relaxed. Towards that end of the season, it kind of gets to a point where it’s like, ‘This is the last push.’ It kind of gets tough mentally. I think having this break from that and not touching a basketball and doing all that was pretty good for a while until it was time to come back.”

On playing in the Orlando bubble being just as daunting mentally as it will be physically:
“For sure. For one, we’re going into a bubble. We’re doing something that we’ve never done before, and that’s already a mental challenge…being able to adapt. Another thing is not being with your families for a month and a half on. I think from that standpoint, especially during the course of the season, you probably go…on a road trip, if it’s 10 days, you probably go 10 days without seeing them. To go 30-plus could be difficult. Again, that’s another thing that you have to adapt to. I think coming together with your teammates and locking in, this will definitely give us a time to really see what we’re made of and kind of build our chemistry. I do also think it’s cool that my brothers are going to be there. During the season, I don’t get to (see them as much) because they’re in Indiana. To be able to do that and see guys around the league and talk about things socially is probably going to be pretty big for us.”

On the discussions he and his wife have had about social injustice and how proud he was of her Player’s Tribune article:
“Extremely proud. To be able to put herself out there and express how she feels firsthand. I think when I first read it, I thought she was going to try to tell it through my eyes or what she saw through my eyes. I think how she described it and how she saw it through her eyes and how it made her feel really hit my heart. It made me feel like – and I already knew before – my wife is a beast. I have the best wife in the world to be able to go through these social things together and for her to understand my side and even the culture that I come from. Again, I’m extremely proud and happy and glad the article turned out really good.”

On players using the platform in Orlando to shed light on social injustice:
“Really it’s just unite and show people that when we go back to play basketball, it is about basketball and entertaining and winning, but we also do this for the culture. Our league is 90-plus percent black, so to be able to still be able to further this movement through basketball, I feel like is a key for us. For us to unite as an NBA – not just the black guys, I mean the foreigners, the white people – people from all different cultures to come together and progress this, for me, is the goal.”

On if he plans on having something other than his name on the back of his jersey:
“It’s in there. I’ve been thinking about it, what to put back there. I don’t want it to be my name. I’d like to share somebody else, somebody that needs to be on a national scale. I think the name or whatever I choose, it will be for a reason…and a good reason, in my opinion. So yeah, I’ve been thinking of names or slogans.”

On tangible steps to change the way things are in America right now:
“I think a lot of it has talked about defunding the police. I know with certain people, they can be offended by that. Sometimes I just want people to put themselves in my shoes and kind of experience what I’ve experienced. Most of the time with cops, more than not, I’ve had not too good experiences. Is that a coincidence? Whatever it may be, I’m a pretty chill guy, I don’t really do anything out of pocket. Just from that, I feel like this is really big. I know I’m not the only one. I have three brothers, I have a dad, I have uncles. I have a sister, so black women not excluded. I think that’s one of the things where we just want people to see things through our eyes, see things how we see them. Because to us, it’s not there.”

On if he and his brothers Justin and Aaron have talked about what they can do collectively to enact change:
“Knowing each other so well and being able to obviously have that history with each other has been huge. We’ve been talking about a lot of stuff and a lot of ideas that haven’t come to fruition yet. Justin didn’t tell anybody that he was going to go to Orlando at first. He told me last week, so I think things started to kind of pick up with us to be able to make things happen. We don’t want it to be just us three Holidays. We want it to be JJ Redick and Andre Iguodala and so many other guys. Again, we’re three people. We probably have great ideas in my opinion, but I feel like we need to hear out everybody’s ideas of how we can further this progression.”

On his expectations for down time in Orlando and how that will be for players who have certain routines:
“Honestly I don’t know. I think this is one of the mental parts about it that guys have to adjust to, where someone like me, I go home and it’s where I kind of relax. I try my best not to bring my work home with me so I can hang out with my wife, my dog, and my daughter and I can do things like that. It’s just going to be a challenge. It’s going to be something different. I know guys are going to love to go golfing. They’re talking about bowling alleys and going fishing. I commend the NBA for trying to do so much to make us as comfortable as possible in this weird situation. I don’t know man. I think that’s going to be a little bit of a challenge, especially after like seven to ten days. Seven to ten days, I feel like you’re going to feel cooped and want to get out and do stuff.”

On how the team would function if Alvin Gentry possibly does not travel to Orlando with the team:
“I think it could be difficult, especially for Gentry and how much he loves the game and how much he loves his teammates. I can see the stress or the struggle in that…not being able to tangibly be there and be able to kind of put your hands in things. For us, another mental challenge. If Gentry doesn’t come, it’s something that we’re going to have to – all of us, not just me – be able to step up and everybody’s going to have to take on a little bit more responsibility. Him as well as Jeff (Bzdelik). I think when it comes down to that, it’s just another mental thing that Griff (David Griffin) has been talking about and has talked to me about where you have to lock in. It seems like it’s not for that long of a period, so to be able to lock in like that is another testament to how strong the team can be.”

On the Pelicans staying in contact on a regular basis and how important that is for a young team:
“We’ve been in contact a lot, obviously with the crazy stuff that’s been happening in this country. We’ve been in contact a lot. A lot of it probably hasn’t been about basketball. I think once we all knew we were coming back, that was a decision that we made as a team. Just to be able to kind of get here and, yeah you quarantine and do all that, but to see each other and pass each other in the gym is kind of like the first day of school again when you see your homies and you’re excited to see them. It’s been great. I think the first day, so many people were excited to get back into the gym and kind of get started.”

On how meaningful it would be to make the playoffs after starting 7-23 and having a 13-game losing streak:
“Talk about an obstacle that you have to get over. We had a couple of them this season. Zion out half of the season, me being hurt, having a 13-game losing streak, bouncing back and on a groove. Right when the pandemic hit, it was a perfect groove for us and we felt like we kind of had that (eighth) spot for sure on lockdown. I think coming back now, having that excitement of going back is something that’s really big for us and momentum that we can use. It is still ultimately the goal to make the playoffs. We know that it’s going to be tough because you’ve got Portland, Sacramento, the Suns are kind of back there. You’ve got teams that are right neck and neck with us, and Memphis who still doesn’t want to let that (playoff spot) go. They’ve had time to rest and they’ve had time to prepare. Mentally, I think it’s going to be one of the biggest challenges that we’ve kind of faced.”

On what he gets out of the difference between playoff games and regular season games:
“Playoffs is like another season to be completely honest. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s kind of like a different wave of energy. By the end of the season you’re tired. All the nicks and hurts that you have are maximized after 82 games. It’s just something about the playoffs and the atmosphere and feeling like it’s you against the world that gets you going. Meaningful games I feel like are huge because it prepares us for that. Games that we need to win, games that we should win, especially against teams that you should beat…mentally, I feel like that’s how you grow. To be able to put games like that together to get to the playoffs will make it even more fulfilling once we get there. If we get there, I’m telling you the playoffs are a completely different atmosphere. Now, the playoffs in a bubble is going to be something that we’re all going to have to get used to. I don’t know how it’s going to progress after this season. I don’t know. That’s a whole different story with no fans and trying (to figure out) where does the energy come from some nights. You bring your own energy, but this is going to be different.”

On the significance of young guys having the opportunity to play in a playoff-type situation:
“So for me, my motivation is to get back because I know what it is like. I know the feeling. It’s kind of like a drug if you will. For other guys, the guys who haven’t made it, just from the people who’ve made it and are talking about it, you get that excitement of, ‘I to want to taste that, I want a piece of that.’ I feel like us going through the season and then playing teams who – I mean, we’re pretty much playing teams like San Antonio. We’re playing Memphis again, like we’re playing teams that are fighting for the eighth spot, which is going to be a playoff mentality, and then once we get into the ‘bubble’, it’s the same thing. We might just, I guess from here on, it might just be playoff mentality for us because we have to if we want to get to where we want to go.”

On if COVID-19 and the situations at hand are just a part of the ‘new normal’:
“Yeah. I’m not there yet with the normalizing it. It’s still pretty scary just seeing family members or friends get it. The different ages and what it does to you and even just seeing what it’s done to other people that I don’t know. So I’m not really there with normalizing it, but I feel like it’s also a risk that we are taking. Knowing that we are healthy. Knowing that the NBA is doing the best that they can to be able to further this season for many reasons, but I don’t know. There are a lot of questions, and again this is a whole different conversation of whether you get it the second round of playoffs. Like what happens then? I also know that this is kind of like a trial and error thing, so for us to come back and enjoy the game that we love, you have to make some sacrifices.”

On playing without fans in attendance:
“Super weird. Very weird. Extremely weird.”

On how big of a role the bench will play without fans:
“I mean, we are fans, though. That’s the thing; I mean, you see our bench. We’re screaming and jumping, and I mean doing all that, but we also feed off of the fans behind us. If it’s an away game and we’re in OKC and its loud as hell, like we feed off that. We want to shut them up. Then if we’re at home, I mean our home fans are great, so they kind of lift us up even on the bench, but I don’t know, man. It’s going to be weird."

On the benefits of having a team phycologist available:
“Yeah. I think it can be beneficial. Again, this is a new normal like many of you guys said, and people have different ways of handling that. Sometimes you have people to talk to, which might be over the phone for some people, but sometimes you need to sit down face-to-face and get things off your chest. Especially during times like this, it would be huge for not just basketball going into the ‘bubble’. It could be things about your family. It could be about social injustice, not feeling like you are doing enough. So many things, so I’m really happy that we’re taking mental health very seriously.”

On if the Pelicans can grow their chemistry more being together in the ‘bubble’:
“Yeah. I think this is more of a positive than a negative in that instance. Being able to be with guys every day and I felt like at this point, you’re going to see them all the time for the next month and a half. I think building that chemistry, which we do feel like we’ve done a pretty good job at that, but building our chemistry and this situation helps grow your team. Not just on the basketball court, I mean, grows you more personally with other teammates.”

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