Philadelphia hasn’t had a year to remember. They are struggling to score, struggling to stay afloat, and Andrew Bynum hasn’t even suited up for the team yet. The 76ers are sitting at 22-30, 3.5 games out of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. They were supposed to be better this year than the middling lower-tier contender that frequented the City of Brotherly Love the last few seasons. But don’t tell any of that to Jrue Holiday.
Holiday is enjoying a breakout season in Philly, arriving as an All-Star and sporting averages of 19 points and 8.8 assists a game. Over All-Star Weekend in Houston, I had the chance to catch up to Holiday to talk about his ascent, how he’s improved, and why he’s been overlooked for so long.
*** *** ***
Dime: How does it feel at your first All-Star Game? Do you feel like you’ve arrived?
Jrue Holiday: I’m kind of on a cloud, you know what I mean? Again, all the things that the previous All-Stars went through they are kind of like, “Okay, this is getting old.” For me, this is just something new. It’s awesome and exciting.
Dime: Do you think you’ve been under the radar for a while?
JH: Yeah. I think I have. Again, I just got a good chance this year to show off my talents, and try to improve my game, keep on doing that.
Dime: Because even in high school, you were in the class with Jennings…
JH: Brandon Jennings, yeah. Brandon. Tyreke. DeMar DeRozan. All those guys. Again, they’re all really good players. Any given day they could’ve been an All-Star, even this year Brandon could’ve been one. It was fun growing up against them. Honestly, I was one of the ones who made it, to be an All-Star first.
Dime: And many of you guys are all from the same area.
JH: Same area. Playing against Brandon and DeMar since like sixth grade, it’s pretty cool.
Dime: What’s that like looking back now that you’re all here in the NBA? Is it weird?
JH: Nah. I mean it’s cool to see. I mean it is kind of weird because obviously as a little kid, y’all played together but now you’re kinda at the highest level playing with or against each other. It’s a lot crazier to see now that you’re at this age and you’re playing against guys that you saw at that age like Dwyane Wade or Chris Paul or KG who’s in like his 15th All-Star Game.
Dime: What’s that dynamic like with the age difference being so large?
JH: I think you try to play it cool. You try to play it cool like you don’t have a million questions to ask them about what it’s gonna be like. Obviously I didn’t. You try to play it like I’ve been here before,” like this is nothing.