Any slate of NBA games has Shawn and Toya Holiday searching for the Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks. Their oldest and youngest sons, Justin and Aaron, play for the Pacers. Jrue, their middle son, is in his first season with the Bucks.
Their watch schedules coincided on December 28, 2019 when the Pacers visited the New Orleans Pelicans?Jrue’s former team. That Saturday night, the Smoothie King Center hosted a Holiday family gathering of epic proportions.
First, let’s introduce the brothers.
NBA’s Holiday Brothers: Justin, Jrue and Aaron
Justin Holiday played four years at Washington and went undrafted. Like many players who did not hear their names called on draft night, Justin looked to enter the MBA via the G League, otherwise known as the minor leagues of professional basketball. Justin joined up with the Idaho Stampede, the G League affiliate for the Utah Jazz. The following season, Justin made his NBA debut with the Philadelphia 76ers, and the rest is history. Since then, Justin’s made an impact on multiple teams including the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers and the Golden State Warriors, with whom he won an NBA Championship in 2015. Now donning the black and purple for the Sacramento Kings, Justin has come a long way from his undrafted status and continues to hear his name called by announcers across the league.
Jrue Holiday played one year at UCLA and was selected 17th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. After four years in Philly, Holiday was traded to New Orleans for Nerlens Noel and the Pelicans’ 2014 first-round draft pick. He grew into a solid player in NOLA and earned a bid to the 2013 NBA All-Star game. Following a successful 2020 season, Jrue was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks in a four-team trade, giving Giannis Antetokounmpo all the pieces around him to make a run to the NBA Finals, where the Bucks finally won their second NBA Championship in their franchise history. A majority of that success came from Jrue’s elite defensive abilities. After all, the Bucks point guard was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2018 and 2021, and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2019.
The accolades are well earned. Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer matches Jrue up with the opponent’s biggest offensive threats. That means he’s tasked with locking down some of league’s best talent like Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden and Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.
Aaron Holiday played three years at UCLA and was the 23rd overall pick by the Pacers in 2018. The youngest Holiday brother was a sparkplug off the bench for Indiana, as well as for the Washington Wizards in 2021. Aaron has since been traded to the Phoneix Suns, where he’ll look to win an NBA Championship alongside Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
All three played at Campbell Hall High School in Los Angeles, California.
Per Andrew Lopez of ESPN, Shawn Holiday encapsulated the historic evening before tipoff:
“It don’t get no better than this,” [he said]. “Just to see them enjoy it, that brings joy to us. That’s the most joy that we get is watching them. They really enjoy playing with each other and being around each other. It’s going to be a lot of fun when they are all on the court.”
Jrue and Aaron started for their respective clubs. The Holidays became the first trio of brothers in NBA history to play in the same game when Justin entered the game with 5:13 left in the first quarter. Due to each team’s rotations, they didn’t see the court together until the second half.
At the 4:54 mark of the third quarter, all three brothers were in the game for the first time. Jrue’s Pelicans ran away with a 120-98 victory and bragging rights. The three swapped jerseys after the game.
Their sister Lauren estimated roughly 30 family members and friends were in attendance.
The familial NBA players squared off for the first time with Jrue as a member of the Bucks in a February 2021 matchup. Each brother logged over 25 minutes in Milwaukee’s 130-110 win.
The Antetokounmpo brothers of Giannis, Thanasis, and Kostas had a chance to beat the Holidays to the historic feat when the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers faced off on December 19, 2019, however, only Giannis saw action. So while the Antetokounmpo brothers may own the NBA’s sibling spotlight, the Holiday brothers will always own a piece of NBA history.
The night was a culmination of three brothers accomplishing their NBA dreams together. Justin, Jrue, and Aaron surpassed mixing it up on the driveway to playing side-by-side on basketball’s biggest stage.
This article was originally published June 15, 2021.