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Milwaukee Bucks Guard Jrue Holiday Wins NBA Sportsmanship Award

Throughout the 2020-21 season, Jrue Holiday has played a vital role to the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 17.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. He’s been the anchor to the team’s defense and an additional contributor to the offense. 

However, Holiday has brought far more to the table than just his basketball talents. This was highlighted on Friday afternoon when the NBA announced that the Bucks guard won the league’s sportsmanship award. The honor was voted on by the players and Holiday was presented with the Joe Dumars Trophy. 

The award is for a player “who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court.” Holiday received 130 of a potential 343 first-place votes.

“Just knowing it came from the players, the guys that go through this with me and put their bodies on the line and train in the offseason, it means a lot,” Holiday said after receiving the honor. 

In addition to Holiday (Central Division), the finalists were Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (Southeast), Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (Pacific), Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie (Northwest), Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (Atlantic) and San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White (Southwest).

“It’s hard to come up with or put all the adjectives in one sentence,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said of Holiday.

“He’s just thoughtful, considerate, deep thinking, but still plays the game the right way and has a toughness and has a realness about him that I think our teammates, his teammates with the Milwaukee Bucks, but I think the players around the league just respect the way he handles himself. Great poise, great character, he’s all about winning…I think the players around the league recognize that and appreciate that and have honored him. It’s special.”

A 12-year NBA veteran, Holiday has won the NBA Sportsmanship Award for the first time. Last year, the guard won the 2019-20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year award as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. That annual award goes to a player in recognition of selfless play, on- and off-court leadership, dedication to his team and his mentorship role to other NBA players. 

Holiday’s altruistic actions were underscored during the Coronavirus pandemic when he and his wife, Lauren, began their Social Impact Fund(JLH Fund) last year. Through their fund, the couple has sought to provide up to $1,000,000 in grants to underserved Black-led nonprofit organizations and businesses. The focus of the grants is to create a more equitable future for underserved communities.

“When we first decided to start this fund, it was at an inflection point of two pandemics – the disproportionate effects that COVID-19 had on the Black community and businesses, and equally as devastating, the murders of George Floyd and many other unarmed Black people – resulting in an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. We are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to help people through the JLH Fund and will continue to do this work and make the greatest impact possible,” said the Holidays.

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