At the Women’s World Cup, Jrue Holiday knows his place.
The former NBA All-Star and current New Orleans Pelicans point guard is merely the man married to the person everyone wants to see — his wife and United States Women’s National Team midfielder Lauren Holiday is the main attraction.
“No one here knows who I am, and if they do know who I am and come up to take a picture with me, it’s because I’m Lauren Holiday’s husband,” Holiday said. “But most of the time, I’m the one holding the camera.
“I mean, I’m completely fine with that. I would rather hear that than anything, and I’ve heard it a lot. So, it’s been really cool in that sense, to really interact with her fans and be able to say I’m the same as all of the fans. It’s just a really cool experience to be a part of all of it.”
Holiday has travelled throughout Canada with his extended family, taking in the USA’s first three games in Winnipeg and Vancouver, before a trip to Edmonton, where the team will compete in the knockout round against Columbia on Monday at 7 p.m.
In those first three games it was common to see Holiday in the family section, with his face painted, donning a No. 12 jersey and screaming out encouragement to his wife and her teammates. It helps him connect to those who attend Pelicans games and do the same for him.
“It’s awesome, honestly,” Holiday said. “You get so used to being a player and being on the bench and being right there in the action. And even though I’ve missed a lot of games the past two years with injuries, it’s totally different being on the bench and in the locker room than just being in the stands with all of the fans and just cheering as loudly as you can.
“There’s no pressure on me. It’s totally different. I can relate to the people who come to our games and just pulling you on to win, but can’t do anything about it. It’s a lot of fun.”
Lauren Holiday has played in all 270 minutes of the United States’ games thus far, and Jrue Holiday has been there for every second of it.
In between, he’s taken in the attractions of Canada, whether it was walking across a suspension bridge and climbing a mountain in Vancouver, canoeing in Winnipeg or scouring the biggest mall in North America while in Edmonton.
But it’s not simply a relaxing month of watching soccer and wearing red, white and blue.
Pelicans trainer Jared Lewis is traversing Canada alongside him and his family, making sure the point guard isn’t falling behind schedule while rehabilitating the stress reaction in his knee that kept him out for 40 games and limited his minutes in playoffs.
Lewis and Holiday have scoured gyms in the various cities, finding places for him to work on his leg and keep his training at full speed despite being away from the typical rehab confines of Los Angeles and New Orleans. He said his recovery from an offseason surgery to remove a screw from his leg is on schedule and he’s ready to back on the court.
“If it’s lifting or rehabbing, we always find a way to get it in no matter where we have to go,” Holiday said. “A lot of times my agency has found us a place to go and work out, and whenever I start shooting, which should be soon, they’ll find me some places to do that. It’s all about just finding a place as early as we can in the morning and get the work in that needs to be done.
“I try to make sure I’m ready to go so that whenever my wife has some free time, I’m available to hang out with her until she has to go back to being with her team.”