OAKLAND — Not knowing is the hardest part.
Justin Holiday has spent a lot of his professional career not knowing. Running through practice, and constantly going through offensive sets, wondering on game days how many minutes he would have, if any, and if he could do enough in those short minutes.
But the not knowing is over. Holiday is a Warrior – A Golden State Warrior.
During training camp, Holiday told SFBay that everything was clear and his priorities were cut and dry:
“My first goal is to make this team. I’m a guy that likes to win and I’ll do anything it takes to win.”
With his never-quit mentality, Holiday won the Warriors’ final 2014-15 roster position, and did so with head coach Steve Kerr singing his praises:
“Justin has done really well since Summer League and he really captured our eye. He’s a very smart player, he shoots the ball well and he’s very focused defensively. We really like Justin and I think he’s accounted for himself really really well.”
Holiday has been through this situation before. After not being drafted he played in Belgium’s top basketball league. The next season he was a 76er, on the same Philadelphia team as his younger brother Jrue Holiday. But it didn’t stick the way it did for his All-Star brother, who now plays for the New Orleans Pelicans.
After playing in nine games with Philadelphia, Holiday was waived in August 2013 and embarked on another overseas stint playing with Szolnok in Hungary. But Holiday has held out knowing that his break would come and told SFBay that everything has been leading up to this point:
“I’ve had a little experience in the NBA playing in Philly and I have experience in the D-League so playing in Europe just gave me another year of basketball experience and it has all helped me grow.”
Dealing with not knowing takes extreme resilience and the ability to focus on the positive. Holiday said one of the most important things, along with faith, is reminding himself he deserves to be here:
“I get in the work and pray. I have the support of my family and my wife also, but I have to just tell myself that I’m here for a reason.”
But not knowing is not always so simple for everyone. Holiday has been through three training camps and knows what the waiting game is like. He told SFBay his wife struggles along with him:
“She actually hates it. I’ve been through this a few times and know what its like, but she hates it. She does a very good job, but there are just times that she wants to know. She does a great job of supporting me and making sure there’s not more stress on me but I know deep down she does not like it.”
Now that the waiting is over and the regular season on the horizon, Holiday is focused on doing what he can to help the team that gave him a break.
He says he is his own worst critic but added he is a good defender and that he hopes to compliment the already -mple scoring capabilities of the Warriors.
Kerr said that Holiday is going to play a role in the second unit as a back up wing and fully expects to play him in the Warriors season opener in Sacramento on Wednesday.