Q&A: NBA’s Jrue Holiday Talks Trade To New Orleans Pelican, Miley Cyrus And Basketball Players Rapping

NBA point guard Jrue Holiday, of the newly renamed New Orleans Pelicans, continues to be a student of the game. After a rookie run with the Philadelphia 76ers, Holiday was traded in July to the Big Easy but is ready to get into the groove with his new team.

The 6’4” baller also spent his summer, honing his craft overseas while hitting the hardwood in Europe this past May. As part of the NBA 3X Tour presented by BBVA, the 2013 NBA All-Star joined legends Bruce Bowen, Ron Harper and Robert Horry, and Kenneth Faried of the Denver Nuggets, to flaunt their game in special contests like the BVA Knockout, adidas Skills Challenge, Eagle Slam Cam, Spalding pop-a-shot, Sprite Slam Dunk Contest and more.

Here, the 23-year-old California native reveals his initial reaction to the home court switch-up and his rap favorites, including the lyricist he would compare himself to. —Camille Augustin

How did you feel when you first heard that you were traded to the New Orleans Pelicans?
Jrue Holiday: My initial reaction was like “What’s going on?” just because I didn’t really see it coming. It took me a couple minutes to realize what the team was like and coaching staff and all that. I got a call from Monty [Williams], and after that it was pretty good.

Are you nervous to compete against your former team, the Philadelphia 76ers, this season?
No, I’ve played my whole career so far in that arena so I think I’ll actually be pretty comfortable,

What is your outlook for the 2013-14 season?
To grow, to be one of the premier point guards in the league, and to win. We got a great group of players to make the playoffs and to make a statement this year.

How was the scrimmage during the USA Men’s Basketball Mini-Camp which potentially could lead to you being selected for Team USA in 2014?
If I am on the team next year, I’m going to be ecstatic as hell. That’s something I definitely want to be a part of. Obviously representing your country, having USA on your chest is one of the most important things you can do to give back to your country. If I make that team I’m going to be really happy.

How have you evolved as a basketball player since being drafted into the league in 2009?
When I first got drafted, I’ve really grown. Coming in, I was kind of nervous but honestly I’ve been really blessed going to two playoff series, one against Miami and the next year against Chicago and the Celtics. I’ve progressed easier. In my rookie year, I got a chance to play and from there on, I just tried to prove I can be a really good player in this league.

What do you listen to get hype before a game?
I listen to pretty much anything. Right now I’ve been playing over the song “Roar” by Katy Perry. It gets me kind of hype. Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and that Miley Cyrus song is kind of dope too.

What are your thoughts on her tune “We Can’t Stop”?
I feel like the song describes her and whatever she’s going through. It’s a time in her life where she can go out and have fun. Nobody can really tell her anything so just go out there and live life, which I definitely respect.

This summer was filled with a plethora of hip-hop albums. What was your favorite so far this season?
Jay Z’s [Magna Carta Holy Grail] was dope. I feel like all of his albums have been crazy. J. Cole [Born Sinner] is one of my favorites for sure. Kendrick Lamar [good kid, m.A.A.d. city], which was kind of a while ago, [is too] but I would have to say J. Cole.

In a previous interview, Jay Z said that Drake is the Kobe Bryant of hip-hop. If you could pick any rapper to compare yourself to, who would it be?
I probably would say Drake because he says his emotions through his rap. He talks about girls, actual life and relationships. He relates to so many people. I feel like he’s an emotional dude. When it comes down to it, I feel that’s how I express myself.

How do you feel about basketball players currently rapping?
I’ve heard Iman [Shumpert] is nice. I feel like there are some guys who can do it. Iman has talent. Lou Williams has talent. You know how you see Chris Brown and all these guys playing basketball? Chris Brown is actually not bad so I feel like it’s okay that some of these basketball players are trying to rap.

Photo Credit: Getty