Jrue Holiday earns an All-Star nod

RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jrue Holiday is youngest Sixer to become an All-Star.
RON CORTES / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jrue Holiday is youngest Sixer to become an All-Star.
Posted: January 25, 2013

ON ONE of the biggest nights of his professional basketball career, 76ers guard Jrue Holiday went to the Flyers-Rangers hockey game.

He wasn't glued to his television, anxiously awaiting word whether he had made his first All-Star Game or not. Instead, he was rooting for the Flyers as they notched their first win of the season.

Holiday did have his phone ready, though, and right around 7 p.m. he got the news he was hoping for: that he would be representing the Eastern Conference during All-Star Weekend, held Feb. 15-17 in Houston.

"It means a lot," said Holiday, who is averaging 19 points, nine assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.4 steals a game. "Coming into this year I thought I had the capability to be an All-Star."

Going into Thursday night's games, Holiday was 13th in the league in scoring, fourth in assists and was the only player in the NBA averaging at least 19 points and nine assists. At 22, he is the youngest player in the history of the franchise to make the All-Star team.

"On behalf of our entire organization I would like to congratulate Jrue Holiday on being named a member of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference All-Star team," said team managing owner Josh Harris. "We are extremely proud of Jrue and consider him to be one of the cornerstones of our franchise and also one of the NBA's bright young stars. We look forward to seeing him represent the Sixers and our fans during All-Star Weekend."

Holiday does have an idea of what the festivities will include, as he played in the Rookie-Sophomore game in 2011 in his hometown of Los Angeles. This time, however, it will be much, much different.

"I do think it's different actually playing in the actual All-Star Game and being recognized as one of the best players in the first half of the season," he said. "It's respect, I think that's one of the biggest things, respect. I guess when you're good at your craft and someone respects that, that's a good feeling."

It's a feeling his coach can relate too and remembers well.

"I know the first All-Star Game I made was the bicentennial game in Philadelphia in 1976," coach Doug Collins said. "I made the game and looking around at the guys who were my boyhood heroes - Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Dave Bing, Dave Cowens - all these guys that were on this team that I grew up watching. Plus, it's another growth. For him, last summer to play on the Select Team and play against the Olympians, to get in that locker room, to get around those guys and sit around and listen and talk - those are all great growth areas for him."

Other Eastern Conference reserves selected by head coaches were: Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, Indiana's Paul George, Chicago's Luol Deng and Joakim Noah, Miami's Chris Bosh and New York's Tyson Chandler. The East starters are Miami's LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Boston's Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, and New York's Carmelo Anthony.

The Western Conference reserves are: Tim Duncan and Tony Parker of San Antonio, James Harden of Houston, David Lee of Golden State, LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland, Zach Randolph of Memphis and Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City. They'll join starters Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard of the Lakers; Blake Griffin and Chris Paul of the Clippers and Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant.

"The feedback that I get [throughout the league] is that everybody loves Jrue, they love what he brings to the game," said Collins, a four-time All-Star in his playing days with the Sixers. "They love his character, they love how hard he plays. Let's face it, this is the first year that Jrue has been given the responsibilities that he's been given. A lot of his safety net is gone. Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams, that was his safety net. Well, we've removed that. He's on that flying trapeze without that net below him. You have to learn through that. It might have been last year he had two or three turnovers and he's coming out because I have Lou Williams sitting over there. Now all of a sudden you leave a guy out there and he has an eight-turnover game. That's growth. You have to learn through that. That's how the dynamics of your role changes when you become that guy."

That guy is now an All-Star.

On Twitter: @BobCooney76

Blog: philly.com/Sixerville

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