HOUSTON: To many, Jrue Holiday is still a kid. At 22, he sort of is, and he was acting it Friday. That’s because he was being paraded around Houston with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James and Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant. For once he wasn’t an opponent of those stars, instead he was a peer, a fellow All-Star. And that fact couldn’t wipe the smile off Holiday’s face.
“It’s crazy, the attention that you get is kind of overwhelming,” he said. “You get in there ( a back room) and you hanging with all the guys, LeBron and them…I mean, K.G.’s (Kevin Garnett) been doing this for like 15 years. It’s cool to see how they handle and react to it. I’m just trying to suck it all in. I’m a goofball, so I’ll be goofing around. If my man E.T. (Evan Turner) was here it would have been a lot more fun.”
He is also happy to learn any lessons he can into being a better player. He pointed out Western Conference starter Chris Paul as someone he looks up to.
“The last time that we played them I think that is something I tried to take from him, how he talks so much,” Holiday said. “He never shuts up, he never stops talking. He’s always pulling out his mouthpiece. Obviously being a leader, he’s the kind of guy to do that.”
The Clippers’ Paul will be starting at point guard for the West, while the starting spot for the East is still open. Boston’s Rajon Rondo was voted in as the starter but he’s out with a knee injury. That role could have fallen to Holiday, but coach Erik Spoelstra decided on giving the nod to his guy, Chris Bosh.
As for how he’ll perform on Sunday, Holiday says he will be happy playing a supporting role.
“I haven’t really figured that out, yet. Right now I’m just thinking that I’ll give it up to the guys who are the scorers. Obviously there are guys who put up big numbers and I’m a passer anyway.”
With NBA royalty littered throughout Houston this weekend, Holiday doesn’t really have a list or a favorite with whom he’d like to meet.
“I’ve met a lot of them before,” he said. “I guess being in this world you get a lot of chances to talk with a lot of great guys. Walt Frazier and Clyde Drexler - it’s a great opportunity. I’m not star struck anymore. I was just in a room with LeBron, Dwyane Wade and K.G. and Carmelo (Anthony) and they’re goofing off. They’re goofing off like they’ve been here a million times and I’m just sitting there like ‘This is cool. I’m an All-Star. I’m with the best of the best.’ To them it’s like it’s just another All-Star game.”
Hall of Fame: The nominees for this year’s Hall of Fame class were announced and included among them were some with Philadelphia ties. Former Sixer and current Oklahoma City assistant coach Maurice Cheeks, who has been nominated previously, along with Dobbins Tech product Dawn Staley. They will find out if they made the Hall during the Final Four weekend. Making the Hall of Fame was Villanova star George Raveling, who will be admitted for lifetime achievement. Receiving the Curt Gowdy Media Award and induction were John Feinstein (for print media) and Eddie Doucette (electronic media). The late Phil Jasner, legendary Sixers beat writer for the Daily News, received the Gowdy Award in 2004.
Star Notes: While Houston Rocket James Harden was bombarded with questions about playing with former Oklahoma City teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, he took time out to praise Sixers coach Doug Collins, who mentored Harden when he attended Arizona State: “He taught me how to be a professional, even though I was a college player. He was the one who taught me what it was all about to have your motor running when you are on the court. He saw that I had the talent, but he also saw that I needed to do more. I owe him so much.”…A throng of reporters gathered at the table where Kobe Bryant’s name plate was set before he came out. Only Bryant threw them a curve by sitting at Chris Paul’s table, much to the chagrin of many, many reporters and camera crews…Clippers forward Blake Griffin said it was no fun arriving in Houston at 5 a.m., as his team beat the Lakers the night before, but said the game was fun. Asked what he would be if he wasn’t a basketball player, he said a baseball or football star. Asked what he would do outside of sports, Griffin said he’d be a singer…West coach Gregg Popovich, usually surly and stoic, was engaging and funny and talked to reporters for close to 45 minutes.