Ex-Husky Justin Holiday Offers Powerful Message Prior to NBA Restart

Dan Raley

Justin Holiday wasn't drafted by the NBA.

That wasn't going to stop him from getting there.

Nothing has ever got in his way for long.

The former University of Washington guard, always strong defensively but never showy  like his younger brothers Jrue and Aaron, both UCLA players and NBA first-round picks, has used his actions to command acceptance and huge respect wherever he's gone.

In his case, this strong and silent Holiday moved from Belgium to the G-League and finally to the big show, carving out a seven-year NBA career for himself with seven different NBA teams. He currently takes the court for the Indiana Pacers alongside his brother Aaron.

Previously at the UW he played with Isaiah Thomas and for Lorenzo Romar. He was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 by Netscouts Basketball. He was always polite and approachable. Because he played so hard, he was a fan favorite at Alaska Airlines Arena.

As pro basketball gets ready to resume next month during a pandemic with a reconfigured league in Orlando, Holiday, who is nicknamed "The Fireman," has done something very unlike him.

Rather than quietly go about his business and lead by example, Holiday has penned an open letter expressing his concerns and motivations in a world that hasn't been fair. He has taken a public stand.

Holiday, using the Players Tribune as a platform, has some very powerful words to say about racial injustice and where we're going as a society from here on out. Here's a partial transcript of Justin's message. 

"When the NBA announced earlier this month that it was going to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando starting on July 30. I was on board with finishing what we started. I also wanted to be ensure that my family and I were positioned for success, and to be a teammate whose name is synonymous with trust and dedication. On and off-court, I am a Black man of morals and values, and that translates to all of my relationships -- husband, father, son, brother, teammate and friend. 

"Working to achieve financial security is not something to be ashamed of. And as we head back to the court to resume the season, many players will be out there for the same reason I am -- for our futures.

"But I also realize that there's something just as critical at stake. 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."

In its entirety, Justin Holiday's open letter can be read here or in the tweet.

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