Athletes and Activism
In the volatile year of 2020 we’ve seen uprisings that have spurred tense feelings and emotions causing Christians to be split on issues related to social justice. But, this is also a year where athletes have used their platform in ways that are reminiscent of the civil rights era. Fists in the air are coupled with kneeling during the national anthem and sporting events by sports professionals in every sport from basketball to tennis, NASCAR to Formula racing, and everywhere in between.  Be the Bridge Founder Latasha Morrison was able to have a conversation with a Christian athlete who not only has a heart for rectifying social and economic inequities but has placed himself on the frontlines of the fight for social justice. His name is Justin Holiday, the shooting guard/small forward for the Indiana Pacers.

“We didn’t grow up watching the news.  When things happened we knew how to get in the word. We knew how to pray and that’s what we did.” –Justin Holiday

“As much as I wanted to be away from the news and not see certain things – one, with social media it’s gonna happen, but two, I needed to see that, I needed to not keep myself away from that.” –Justin Holiday

About Justin Holiday
Justin Holiday is a professional basketball player for the Indiana Pacers of the National Basketball Association. Justin grew up in a family dedicated to basketball. Both of his parents had college basketball careers which ignited a love for the game in both Justin and his siblings. Justin played High School ball at Campbell Hall School in Studio City, California. He started his college career at the University of Washington where he was named the Huskies’ co-captain along with Isaiah Thomas. During his time at Washington he was named Pac-10 First Team All-Defense by Netscouts Basketball.

Listen to the full episode and subscribe to the Be the Bridge podcast for more conversations on racial healing, equity and reconciliation!





The full episode transcript is below.

Narrator  0:01  

You are listening to the Be The Bridge podcast with Latasha Morrison.

Latasha Morrison  0:06  

How are you guys doing today?

Narrator  0:09  

Each week Be The Bridge podcast tackles subjects related to race and culture with the goal of bringing understanding.

Latasha Morrison  0:16  

“… but I’m gonna do it in the spirit of love.” 

Narrator  0:19  

We believe understanding can move us toward racial healing, racial equity, and racial unity. Latasha Morrison is the founder of Be The Bridge, which is an organization responding to racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world. This podcast is an extension of our vision to make sure people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth. If you have not hit the subscribe button, please do so now. Without further ado, let’s begin today’s podcast. Oh, and stick around for some important information at the end.

Play by Play Announcer  0:54  

Justin Holiday has come in for Golden State. Justin Holiday with awareness there. Holiday with the steal, Holiday wins the foot race. Holiday! Oh man, that is worth another look. How bout hanging, showing, pulling back, and finishing.

Tandria Potts  1:11  

Don’t worry. You did not tune into a sports podcast by accident, and no, I am not Latasha, but you will hear her throughout today’s podcast. Hello, I am Tandria Potts, and I will be your guest host guiding you through today’s conversation. As Latasha mentioned in the last podcast, she is recovering from surgery. She’s doing well and is thankful for all of your well wishes and prayers. Earlier, what you heard were highlights of today’s guest, Justin Holiday. Justin is an NBA basketball player who currently plays for the Indiana Pacers. He won a championship ring and made history as being one of three brothers to play at the same time in the NBA. For some of you, this is the first year you’ve paid close attention to the NBA because of the bubble. Let me explain. The 2020 NBA bubble was the isolation zone at Walt Disney World in Florida—that was created by the NBA to protect its players from the covid 19 pandemic—during the final eight games of the NBA regular season and throughout the NBA playoffs. Twenty-two of the thirty NBA teams were invited to participate, with games being held behind closed doors at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. What made this especially compelling is that the NBA not only allowed the players in the bubble to express themselves—by altering traditional sports attire with political and social justice messages—but the floor of the NBA bubble arena bore the statement, Black Lives Matter. The NBA and its players bold stand became a tipping point, inspiring other athletes and sports franchises worldwide to follow suit. Many are accustomed to hearing from athletes like LeBron James and Steph Curry. But the bubble, the bubble allowed other athletes to not only share the spotlight but to make their voices heard in the quest for equality. Now let’s back up a bit and go back to life in the bubble. Let’s pick up Latasha’s conversation with Justin right here, 

Latasha Morrison  3:17  

You know, we wanted to do a podcast to highlight voices from the sports industry, you are also citizens, you know, you have families, you know, you’re exercising your right and using your voice, you know, to talk about the things that are plaguing our country and in our culture. And so I love some of the stuff that you’re doing. I did follow you along in the bubble. Your YouTube channel that you had just to get a behind the scenes look—but what was so intriguing to me is only to the fact that just how you know the universe would work in the sense of you having your two brothers there with you, you know, in this time. What was that like, having your brothers in the bubble with you? 

Justin Holiday  4:13  

It made it easier. Um, you know, making my decision, because I was trying to decide I didn’t, I wasn’t with it at first. I Struggled with the moment to go back or not. Them being there helped my decision on being able to go. So, one of my brothers plays me. Some people don’t know that. So yeah, I have a brother that does play with me. So we were together every day until we were able to see Drew, who was a different hotel so we will visit him at times but 

Latasha Morrison  4:40  

Okay.

Justin Holiday  4:40  

it’s nice for us to have some time to be able to see one another. Because this is the most we were able to see Drew within the month, two months span, then we usually would… 

Latasha Morrison  4:48  

Oh, okay.

Justin Holiday  4:49  

…during this season, so it was good to be able to see him as well. 

Tandria Potts  4:52  

For some players, Being in the bubble, I’m sure it was difficult, but if you grew up in a Christian household, being in a bubble is somewhat a way of life. You’ll see what I mean. Let’s pick up the conversation here. 

Latasha Morrison  5:05  

Where did you grow up? And how did that affect your point of view? 

Justin Holiday 5:09  

Okay. 

Latasha Morrison  5:10  

Relate to justice… 

Justin Holiday  5:11  

I will try to make this as short as I possibly can.

Latasha Morrison  5:14  

Okay. Okay, good. 

Justin Holiday  5:17  

Let me see. So I’m from LA. I was born in LA. Myself and Drew, we’re 14 months apart. So we were both born in LA and Lauren. So, Lauren, is I don’t know how many years younger. Erin is seven younger than me. She’s five, I think. 

Latasha Morrison  5:30  

Okay. Okay. I get it.

Justin Holiday  5:33  

So the first three were born in California. We ended up moving to Louisiana when I was five. 

Latasha Morrison  5:39  

Okay. 

Justin Holiday  5:39  

So I grew up in California for a little bit, I was so young, I don’t really remember things, but not as much. I really started growing up in Louisiana. And so when we moved to Louisiana, that’s kind of like, how we set the base of how we were going to be raised and how things were going on. And the first and foremost thing was we grew up in the church, we were in the church from day one. 

Latasha Morrison  5:59  

Right. 

Justin Holiday  5:59  

And I remember going to church in Ruston. That’s why I say the Ruston was that. And so from five to nine in those years was years of developing a lot of developmental milestones you go through in those years, I was in a community that was around going to church and all my friends were kids I went to church with and um at the same time time, though, kinda in the sense of being in the bubble. A bubble of… 

Latasha Morrison  6:21  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  6:21  

You’re not experiencing too much of um–

Latasha Morrison  6:26  

Life. 

Justin Holiday  6:26  

I want to say real life. But like– 

Latasha Morrison  6:28  

Yeah yeah yeah. I know what you’re saying. 

Justin Holiday  6:31  

Good thing is, we moved back to California when I was nine. 

Latasha Morrison  6:35  

Okay.

Justin Holiday  6:35  

Now I’m going to school. I’m going to school, and kids are cussing. And– 

Latasha Morrison  6:39  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday 6:40 

And so I was able to, you know, as I remember the first day going back to school, I came home like mom these kids are cussing at school. And because I know, I wasn’t around people that cursed.

Latasha Morrison  6:48  

Right, right. 

Justin Holiday  6:49  

And so, as bad as that might seem, to some people was a good thing, because now we’re able to see what life was really like. So starting off in that bubble, in a sense, in Ruston, and being protected and being in a church and have everybody goes to church and kind of on the same wavelength was a good thing to kind of start us off. 

Latasha Morrison  7:06  

Right. 

Justin Holiday  7:06  

And then going to California, going back to California was good for us too, because we’re actually able to, you know, grow and see who we were in real life. And so just our parents really instilled in us, you know, the Lord. And then is being hard workers, trying to enjoy life be positive and respecting other people. And that’s just kind of how we, my parents did a great job of, I guess, instilled that in us. And that’s how we try to conduct ourselves today.

Tandria Potts  7:30  

About three in 10,000 high school basketball players make it to the NBA. Three, in 10,000. Justin and his family had to have unbelievable dedication and passion for basketball, to even decide to actively pursue such a difficult path, which meant they had to have laser focus. Listen to how that plays into today’s discussion. 

Justin Holiday  7:55  

Shoot, I’ve been playing basketball all my life. Been playing sports, all of our lives. So the day we started, was very, very young. My parents both play basketball. So I don’t know. But our parents, you know, playing at the park and going to watch my dad, you know, friends with the park or church friends or his friends from, you know, he went to college with as well as my mom playing in rec leagues and things like that. So I grew up around basketball, specifically, but playing all types of sports. And the funny thing is, our parents never forced us to play basketball. And a lot people, a lot of people would think or can look at our situation like, “Oh, they were all just… Oh, we’re gonna breed basketball players. And do this is like no. My dad actually, you know, both of them. Both play basketball at very high level. My mom played for the first women’s professional league that folded. And my dad actually was in I forgot what draft he was in. And I think he got drafted in some later rounds, because the rounds were, there were a whole bunch of rounds back in the day in drafts, and his agent left them and so long story short, and trying to get there. It was just like, you know what, I think he ended up having me or someone didn’t pursue it. But he always told himself, my kids wanted to play I’m gonna do the best I can to help him to get there. So but he never forced us to is like if you want to go into gym, he wanted to play basketball. He actually had this playing baseball. Soccer, I was actually on a travel soccer team before I was on basketball. So I played other sports, baseball was a really fun too. So we stopped early. But basketball is just ended up like it’s just what we love to do. And again, I’m assuming my parents have an influence on that. But at the same time we love playing basketball. And so I’ve been playing for before high school, I was playing travel ball before then AAU before then. Okay, so once I got the high school, you know, it was like, this is what this is what we do. It’s what we love to do. But it was something that we took so seriously, we worked at it all the time to where we weren’t going to parties all the time. You know, we went to parties in high school, but like, like what we actually enjoyed doing was getting the best gym and working on our high right. That was fun to us. We’ll be in there all night. So when I got to high school That’s just what it was. It was easy, you know, for us to do that, because hard work was normal to us. 

Latasha Morrison  10:06  

Right.

Justin Holiday  10:06  

You know, people say, Oh, you work so hard. It was like, well, I think that’s a normal thing to do. I feel like working hard is how we were raised… 

Latasha Morrison  10:13  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  10:13  

…to be. And so growing up at high school playing basketball is all I wanted to do, so that’s kind of where my mind was. So when things happen outside of basketball, yes, they were thought about and like, I wrote a letter, you know, in the Players Tribune, and I talked about, you know, in the past, when certain things like this happen, you would make sure we would pray for we would feel and hurt for you know, when certain things happen. At the same time, though, I didn’t know about a lot of things that happened around that age. 

Latasha Morrison  10:40  

 Okay. 

Justin Holiday  10:41  

I, you know, was making sure I’ll take care of school, I was playing basketball, but I wasn’t on social media like that. I don’t even know if social media was… 

Latasha Morrison  10:49  

Right. 

Justin Holiday  10:49  

I think MySpace was a big deal, but MySpace wasn’t what… 

Latasha Morrison  10:54  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  10:54  

Instagram is and how you see news and people. So like, I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t watch the news. We didn’t grow up watching the news. We, you know, when things happen, we knew to get in the word, we knew how to pray. And that’s what we did. That’s how we try to deal with things. So most of the stuff that, you know, would come to us in a tragic situation would be things that were close to us, or people that are close to us or people we knew. Other than, you know, big, big news that there’s no way you can miss it. But at that time, I can’t remember really think about many situations that are happening today. I can’t really think about many of them that I remember from that time of being in high school. 

Latasha Morrison  11:30  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  11:30  

Again, I was always hoping I was always trying to be in school in high school. And and I wouldn’t, I’m not big, I wouldn’t a big social media person anyway. So like, it wasn’t like I was on the computer all the time. We were outside playing so… then that wasn’t really something that, I’m not gonna say I wasn’t focused on but maybe I wasn’t in the age where I was mature enough to understand or try to understand or even had enough mental capacity to try to get into especially. 

Latasha Morrison  11:55  

Yeah, I know, it’s a lot. And I think, in today’s age, social media has changed that a lot for you know, this generation. Now this Gen Z, where, you know, you see students that are playing in high school and middle school levels that now are kneeling or taking knee because they’re seeing this online or, you know, it’s big news. And so..

Justin Holiday  12:17  

To be honest with you, they have a bigger responsibility than we did at that age—and have to deal with things like this.

Latasha Morrison  12:22  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  12:23  

I never thought about that, like, yeah, now that you bring that up. it’s like, social media can make these kids celebrities before they make the money. 

Latasha Morrison  12:31  

Exactly. 

Justin Holiday  12:31  

To think about that responsibility at that age, these kids are actually doing a pretty good job if you asked me.

Latasha Morrison  12:36  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  12:37  

…in dealing with that, because I didn’t have to worry about that. You know, yeah, people knew that we play basketball and things like that, but like to this level of videos coming out all the time, people can see in your every move, people want to come and see and videotape you, like people came in watch this play, but it wasn’t to this level. And again, I gotta commend these kids for, you know, standing up for what is right, standing up for what they believe in. And at the same time, I know it’s hard, but trying to be themselves in this whole thing of fame. And, and everybody wanted to be the most popular person in the world. 

Latasha Morrison  13:08  

Yeah. 

Tandria Potts  13:09  

I love Justin’s transparency and what he’s about to share. I bet a lot of you can relate, check this out… 

Justin Holiday  13:16  

Like around the time when Kap was kneeling and um Trayvon Martin situation, all that type of stuff. And, again, a situation of stuff that was shouldn’t happen tough to deal with tough to understand, in a hurting black community. I one on social media, I wasn’t doing much on it. I wasn’t. And I still I mean, I do some now, I’m not big on social media, because I don’t be honest with you care if you like me or not.

Latasha Morrison  13:48  

Right, right. 

Justin Holiday  13:49  

I’m a private person, I want to see too much of what I’m doing. But I understand the social media aspect to life in the business. So that’s why I’m on it. I understand the outreach I have, I understand the responsibility I have is my job and being on there. So I definitely use that now. And I think I understand that more now than I did then. 

Latasha Morrison  14:09  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  14:11  

So that’s one thing also, again, being in the mental space of putting myself completely—I can’t say completely because it’s not me going through it, but more into other people’s shoes. You know, hurting. I was always hurting. 

Latasha Morrison  14:27  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  14:27  

But to actually sit and think about it. Like I have children now. 

Latasha Morrison  14:31  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  14:31  

So now once you have children, your mind can 

Latasha Morrison  15:30  

Yes, 

Justin Holiday  14:33  

see that a little more. That’s a different situation for me. And again, I was trying to make it an NBA. My mental space was so filled up of how could I make it? How can I stay on this team? How can I support my family? And not in the space of don’t worry about what you have going on? Let God take care of that. How can you help others? How can you bring God’s… How can you pray for others, continually? How can you not only pray, but put action behind that prayer and faith. And that’s the difference between then and now. And again, I think this comes with growing up. Comes with becoming more mature, going through things in life understanding that you know, one, it’s not about you, it’s not about how you can get this done and make it. You’re going to get to where you’re going to get. You put the work in, you do those type of things, don’t worry it past that point. And to actually use your, your job, use your talents, use your shoot, you your whole being for others. God put us on earth to, you know, for all of us to do this together. Together. That’s why we have so many people. And we have so many different people that bring different things to the table. And so 

Latasha Morrison  15:47  

Right, 

Justin Holiday  15:47  

I understand that type of stuff now. And that’s why it was different for me. And it really got magnified through the shutdown with the pandemic. 

Latasha Morrison  15:50  

Everybody was paying attention. 

Justin Holiday  15:55  

I think that was I think that was a big deal. Because you were paying attention in the past, but we were doing this but we were paying attention. Now you were seeing it, you have no option but to feel. And shoot, saying this now, to think about the people that don’t understand or can’t even remotely put themselves in that space, it’s like man, I don’t… What’s really going on mentally because I don’t care what someone looks like. Anybody going through this situation feeling this…

Latasha Morrison  16:25  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  16:26  

Pain of your family member being gone—being killed. I don’t care who you are, I’m gonna feel a certain type of way. I’ma feel, I’ma hurt for you.

Latasha Morrison  16:34  

Yeah, it’s called empathy. 

Justin Holiday  16:36  

Yes. Um, I’ma have a lot of empathy for you. Like, I don’t understand how other people don’t. But again, it’s a world of a whole bunch of different people and people that feel different ways have different opinions. I understand that. So. And I don’t, I don’t want to sit here and say that you should feel this, because that’s not me. You know, I’ve learned a long time ago, not say you should. 

Latasha Morrison  16:58  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  16:59  

…because I can’t tell you how you’re supposed to be. 

Latasha Morrison  17:02  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  17:02  

You’re gonna learn these things a different way. I can just try to show you how we’re feeling and just pray and hope that you have empathy for what we’re feeling, what these people are going through. And so that’s kind of like where I am now. And what I was able to feel like I was crying about the situation. I know a lot of us were—about the stuff that was happening. Um, shoot, hearing my daughter’s cry around that time when it was really really fresh, made me cry, cuz I, you know, as crazy as it might sound to people and one thing about me is I don’t care what people think about me, I speak the truth. I tell you how I feel 100%. You could take it as believe it or not. But like, when my daughters would cry, I would feel as if they were crying as if their dad was gone. Like when I would hear them cry, that’s the feeling I would have. 

Latasha Morrison  17:23  

Right. 

Justin Holiday  17:29  

And I would just break down. And my wife like, “what’s wrong?” I was like, this is all just so heavy, like think about George Floyd’s daughters… daughter, like his kids. Like, think about that. And so that’s kind of all that was hitting me during that time. And again, when we’re able to sit in the house and see it. 

Latasha Morrison  18:00  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  18:01  

As much as I wanted to be away from the news, and not see certain. One with social media, it was going to happen. But two, I needed to see that, I need to not keep myself over that. And again, I’m in the space and have a platform to be able to speak up for what is right. And we need people that—cuz there’s a lot of people speaking up for what is wrong and standing up boldly. 

Latasha Morrison  18:18  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  18:19  

We need people to stand up for what is right. And so that’s why I feel—that’s why I did it but that’s why I feel, others have as well. With the recent… 

Latasha Morrison  18:27  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  18:28  

Situations. 

Latasha Morrison  18:29  

That’s good. And I think, you know, you mentioned like Trayvon and different ones. I think a lot of us like there’s this, like catalytic events that get our attention where we knew about these things. But then there’s these catalytic moments that, that push us to do something, to say something to, to to be a part of change. Do you feel like the partnership with the NBA has with the players help to amplify your voices? You know, not just LeBron James, but like your your voice, and also George Hill, and so many others, who were really saying, hey, this this moment, I’m not going to miss this. I’m going to make sure I do my part, however, small that part is or however large that part is, I’m going to make sure that, you know, this legacy that I’m leaving, you know, there’s a stamp on it that says that, you know, I wasn’t just tending to my own business in this time. But I was tending to the business of others and also to the business of my Heavenly Father. So you know, do you feel like that the NBA helped amplify that?

Justin Holiday  19:40  

 I mean, we wouldn’t have this platform if we didn’t have the NBA. 

Latasha Morrison  19:44  

Yeah. Yeah

Justin Holiday  19:45  

And again, like you said, there’s a reason why we’re in this position. God made me a basketball player, to be able to have this platform God made my story, what it is—the struggles I’ve gone through—to help someone else. So it’s, yes, it is my story, but it’s for other people.

Yeah, I mean, think about the people in the Bible, their stories are for us to learn from. 

Latasha Morrison  20:06  

Yes. 

Justin Holiday  20:06  

And he uses each of us in a certain way. 

Latasha Morrison  20:09  

Mm-hmm. 

Justin Holiday  20:09  

To get understanding across, get his word across. And that’s what I am. I’m here doing what God’s plan is. 

Latasha Morrison  20:16  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  20:17  

And without the NBA, this without the NBA wouldn’t happen this way. Now, 

Latasha Morrison  20:23  

yeah, 

Justin Holiday  20:23  

God’s plan would be something else for me. If it wasn’t the NBA, so, of course, NBA is a big reason why we’re able to do this. And, again, it was a big reason why I decided to go back, I wanted to make sure I had at the end of the day man as a as an NBA player, we have a responsibility. And it’s, the responsibility is bigger than just making sure that you’re good period. I don’t care how selfish you want to be in this league, once you have this celebrity, because I don’t consider myself as such. But once you’d be having a certain level of fame, people looking at you, no matter how big or small your following can be, you have a responsibility to speak about what is right, to stand up for what is right. And to step it up. But that’s why I don’t understand what people are talking about. Just shut up and dribble. 

Latasha Morrison  21:09  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  21:09  

You know, we have that responsibility, we have a responsibility, especially for the black community. Speaking for myself being an African American, being an example for these young kids. Yeah, not just so that so they can be an NBA player. No. So they can be the best men and women they can be in life. 

Latasha Morrison  21:24  

Yeah. That’s so good. 

Justin Holiday  21:24  

God has blessed me to one understand that but blessed me with my career, you know, my skill, my talent, my tongue, being able to speak in front of anyone to be able to do this. And hundred percent the NBA allows us to be able to… going back, like I said, was a big deal.  And the reason why I went back was because I was like, you know, I can make a stand and not go. And I make a stand and not go, yeah, they’ll see that for a little bit. But like the social media stuff, you get moved over quick. 

Who’s gonna care? Be honest, who’s gonna care if Justin Holiday didn’t go to the bubble and play other than my teammates, and the people that you know, would have felt like I let them down. Nobody. They wouldn’t be like, Oh, he did this for that—they’d be like, Oh, he’s on this team down. I would have only got flipped. Going to play allowed us to… And the NBA did a good job making, you know, allowing guys being interviewed asking the questions. Having a tough conversation. So yeah, the NBA. Like I said, it wouldn’t happen without them. 

Latasha Morrison  21:54  

Yeah. What are some other, you know, programs and causes that are near and dear to your heart that you that you’ve participated in?

Justin Holiday  22:31  

Well, one thing that me and my wife do so when I was growing up playing basketball, the first AAU team was the first the first serious one, I think that I can remember. I played for the Boys and Girls Club in Pasadena. And my wife went to the Boys and Girls Club down in Ruston. Every now and then. So that was a place that children and families, families and children have a very, very close space in my heart. And that’s what we do a lot of, you know, work in the community and giving back and so the Boys and Girls Club is actually who I’ve been partnering with down in Ruston, Louisiana. With I have a basketball camp there every summer.

Latasha Morrison  23:08  

Oh, okay. Great.

Justin Holiday  23:10  

And, again, I’d like to talk about myself, but I don’t take any money. All the money we built we raised for the camp. The kids that come goes to the boys or girls club. And last year I think we raised like 100,000. around that. So each year, that’s what happens. So this year, I couldn’t have that camp because of the… 

Latasha Morrison  23:32  

Pandemic.

Justin Holiday  23:32  

… We were on lockdown. Yeah, we’re on lockdown. So what we actually did was we still reached out to these people said we can’t have the camp. But we still need to get back in. I did some campaign stuff with them. And we raised I think around the same amount of money without actually having to camp and that’s, you know, one of the things I recently have been doing and been involved in. There’s other places we give, I gave actually in every city I played in, I put in like seven of them. Yeah, me and my wife makes sure we find a way to so continue to get back to the places that would have been our home places that have accepted us and the people that have accepted us have been so kind.

Tandria Potts  24:12  

Justin said he and his wife Shenika have given back to every community they’ve lived in. Over his career, Justin has played for seven teams, which means seven cities… really take that in, that got Latasha thinking. So she asked this question…

Latasha Morrison  24:31  

Are there other players like we know that there are so many other players like yourself that are doing the same thing who comes to mind of someone that you know? This you know, using their voice? 

Justin Holiday  24:44  

Oh I could name a lot of people 

Latasha Morrison  24:45  

I know just name a few. 

Justin Holiday  24:47  

Avery Bradley. 

Latasha Morrison  24:49  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  24:49  

Kyrie 

Latasha Morrison  24:51  

Uh huh. 

Justin Holiday  24:51  

Dwight Howard. George Hill. 

Latasha Morrison  24:53  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  24:53  

My brother Drew.

Latasha Morrison  24:55  

Yeah.

Justin Holiday  24:57  

Man. I mean, almost everybody that was in the bubble. Got anybody My youngest brother, Jimmy Butler,

Latasha Morrison  25:02  

yeah,

Justin Holiday  25:03  

I can go down the list. I love that name almost every NBA player, like every guy, especially the guys that went and played that, you know, saw firsthand. But this guy’s doing so much behind the scenes and different things that aren’t being spoken about, which is fine. But yeah, I mean, I’m sure like every guy in some way, can say every guy but I know a lot of the guys have been doing a lot of different things, which is because the more people we have helping the more that can be covered and yeah, and, you know, kind of help change, help change, change and help change.

Faitth Brooks  25:32  

Wow, this is so good. Let’s take a really quick break and we will be back shortly be prepared to learn something new.

Tandria Potts  25:41  

If you are listening to today’s podcast and would like to become a bridge builder in your community, guess what? Be the bridge programs are available for youth, college students, adult BIPOC and transracial adoptees and adoptive parents. Our desire is for people to have healthy conversations about race. So we’ve provided guides to lead people through these discussions. Visit our shop at BeTheBridge.com to grab a guide and start conversations in your community.

Faitth Brooks  26:15  

Thanks for staying with us. Let’s pick up Latasha’s conversation with today’s guest.

Tandria Potts  26:21  

A number of athletes run toward the spotlight and document every trivial thing they do purely for attention. That made what Justin said here, so fascinating.

Latasha Morrison  26:32  

Okay, okay. 

Justin Holiday  26:33  

So blogging in a bubble was easier for me because like, you know, what people want to see behind the scenes, but I’m continuing to vlog outside the bubble. And the thing is, the reason why I got to YouTube, and to have watched YouTube for years when I was overseas playing, it helped me it was like my knowledge, they helped me like get through times and people’s vlogs I watched, and people that vlog literally helped change people’s lives. And so like, I watched people’s vlogs and I was like, dang, so excited is doing it, even though some I can probably never do. So then I try to kind of remember that when I’m doing this. But again, not doing too much of the content was shown when I am doing so that’s where I’m struggling is like a thin line between showing people certain things and that, and I still struggle with it with the blogging and stuff. Now sometimes I’ll vlog it and not show. But at the same time I like that recorded because I can go back and watch, I can show my kids. And that’s another reason why I did the bubble is to be able to go back and hopefully we don’t have to do a bubble again, to be able to go back and I guess what it was like, like I have all this footage from it. And yeah, social media is a tough thing to do. If you’re people like us that don’t want to be and don’t want to show so much like I don’t, I don’t want people I don’t have my children on social media. I want to protect my children. From nasty comments about you can talk about me all you want, but you start talking about my family, my kids then turn into a different person. So I want to try to protect them from you know, being out there and so I’m bogging now, right they could be in the vlog but like if I post a vlog with them, I’m alerted.

Tandria Potts  27:59  

I’m sure at this point, you have to wonder how Justin remains the man that he is. So Latasha asked this question,

Latasha Morrison  28:07  

Do you have a pastor or spiritual leader? Or a mentor or someone that you look up to this helping navigate a lot of this?

Justin Holiday  28:17  

Well, I mean, first of all my parents were well, I guess there must be so my parents, my parents. Especially, you know, from the young age, that’s who I would always go to and about anything, obviously them being my parents and they would, you know, put me right to the word pray for me. My grandmother, she has I think she has dementia. I don’t know how, what grade it is, but isn’t doing great with it. But she used to be someone that I remember she would call me all the time in college. I’m praying for you and have this scripture and be right on time. 

Latasha Morrison  28:51  

Yeah. Yeah. Right on time…

Justin Holiday  28:54  

And she was someone that was used and then so now, me being you know, married and stuff. They’re moving around, like I live in New York. I used to go to Hillsong. 

Latasha Morrison  29:06  

Okay, 

Justin Holiday  29:07  

Which I still watch my time. But yeah, so I have so many friends. 

Latasha Morrison  29:11  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  29:13  

That I still speak to, there’s actually a guy, lives in Rustin another friend from he was my dad’s friend, my parents friends when I was younger, but me him became very, very close to his mentor a lot, spiritually. And, you know, being him going through so much of life and his ups and downs has helped me a lot. Yeah, man is there’s so many. There’s so many people I feel like that have helped me I feel like that’s what again, God has made us to be. It’s not gonna just be a, you could do it by yourself. Because I used to be that person. I used to think I can do this by myself. I could do so now. I’ll get into work. You know, I’m gonna continue to be in a work center where it’s like, there’s other things that other people can teach you.

Latasha Morrison  29:49  

That’s so important.

Justin Holiday  29:51  

And yeah, that’s been that’s been

Latasha Morrison  29:53  

 I think, just even from, you know, those like, we have be the bridge youth that are listening to this. I think that’s it. For people, to you know hear what you’re saying is like, Hey, you know, yes, I can get my word, I have my parents, but it’s also good to have people to help you along this journey.

Justin Holiday  30:11  

If you understand that a younger young age, it will help. The thing is I was I was prideful for the sense of like, you know, what, no, I don’t need to put this on other people. I need to do this myself. No, it’s not their problem. And, and one not want people to know, my business are looking at me certain way because I am struggling. And hopefully, you can learn sooner or later. That is actually okay. If you have to go to counseling, it’s okay. 

Latasha Morrison  30:34  

That’s good. 

Justin Holiday  30:36  

And you’d, to be honest with you is probably something I recommend 

Latasha Morrison  30:40  

that’s a good one 

Justin Holiday  30:41  

to have somewhere you can go to let your stuff go and not hold it in, because I see the type of just holding it in. And you know be angry, upset about not making teams or how it was treated, or this had and the rest. And also feeling like you know what, yes, my struggle. But some people have worse struggles, and you Justin you shouldn’t feel this way. It’s like know what you’re going through. If it’s something that you’re struggling with is what you struggle with. That’s okay. Don’t allow, don’t take yourself out of don’t make yourself less worthy than you should be your child of God, your problems, are your problems, just like, you know, I might not struggle with certain things somebody else does. Or because of my job, I have to deal with certain things, doesn’t mean that my problems aren’t just as bad or just as tough for me as they are somebody else it’s different things for different people. So that was something I had to learn was no, just because you might have a better in this situation, somebody else doesn’t mean anything. Just because, you know, I’m struggling with how Let me try to think of something like I got cut. Okay, you got cut, that’s something that’s tough for you, but somebody else lost her brother was like, You know what, at this, so again, it’s a thin line, helps you get out of his you know, Justin is not as bad as it can be. But it also is something you need to address because it’s real for you. 

Latasha Morrison  31:54  

Yeah,

Tandria Potts  31:54  

A lot of people only put emphasis on loving your neighbor as it states and Mark 12:31. But one can’t love their neighbor until they start with one other person. What Justin says here is golden, don’t miss it.

Justin Holiday  32:11  

You have to make sure you’re happy with yourself and love yourself before anything else. And when and, and once you get to that point of loving yourself and being happy with what you have, who you are what’s in front of you. And learning to be thankful for those things. It doesn’t matter what works for you, it doesn’t matter what what you succeed at or don’t or what you fail at I should say and don’t, you will be grounded in you know what I’m confident in who I am. I’m thankful for who I am. And, and that means that because they helped me because I used to struggle with being cut and not playing well. Now I can go play the game, I can play horrible, I’m fine. When I get home. I used to not be that way. 

Tandria Potts  32:49  

Many of you Indiana Pacer fans may have noticed a shirt that was being worn by the team one night in the bubble. Let’s pick up the conversation here.

Latasha Morrison  32:59  

I wanted to talk about the shirts that you created and, and why you have one of them on I know everybody else is not gonna see it right now. But they’ll get to see it soon. But tell us a little bit about the shirt and why you created it and what what message do you hope to send with it?

Justin Holiday  33:20  

Okay, so actually, when I was I did one I was able to do one peaceful process with someone want to make sure me and my wife are able to do because, again, going through the process of turning around if I want to play or not? How am I going to stay on the right side of history and stand up for was right? Um my wife was like, you know, you know, our daughter is gonna be like, what did you do during this time when they’re when they grow up. And we want to tell them we were able to go and protest and we were able to go do this and go vote and other things that I did and or continue to do. And so I was like I want to make I already have my clothing line. I didn’t, I was working on my website. So I didn’t really have the big drop, I sold some holiday season shirts during the holiday time, just kind of see what it was like because I learned everything from trial and error. And I learned like ooo, you need to go back to the drawing board to figure this out. And so in figuring this out, I have a whole bunch of other gear, as I’ll come about to drop this website. But I want to find a way to i can i can help and help in a way that it continues to help. So it’s not just like one time. I mean, you know, I give to certain things, you know, monthly but like, find a way where I can have people involved, kind of bring people together, have people stand up with us in solidarity. And still just find it just a cool way to have something that we can where we can do. I was like, you know, I want to make a shirt. I don’t know what I wanted to save. I’m gonna make a shirt. So I’m like thinking about things and looking at things and somewhere I saw in my next and somebody protesting and I was like, I was like that’s perfect. Because and it’s perfect for the whole Community thinking that way, but specifically for a NBA player? 

Latasha Morrison  35:04  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  35:05  

Because, again, I’m gonna be brutally honest. They look at us. Some people not all people, some people really see us as human beings. Yes, they see us as celebrities. Some of us how am I gonna say myself to see the celebrities and have a certain place, but they still treat us as human beings like we’re other people that we matter. And there’s some people that only tolerate us or accept us because we’re NBA players, I have situations where I go places that you know, I’m treated a certain way because I’m a black man. And what’s the final NBA players like, Oh, he’s cool. He’s a good, he’s a black guy. We’re good. And so I say that to say, there are people that really really, really, like for example, LeBron. Or let me say other people’s names, I’m gonna try and sing on one person like LeBron, Steph Curry, Kyrie, Kevin Durant. Jimmy Butler’s, the big names for the people that really, really, really love that player, even if you love them, just for him being a player in your team, you just love them as a celebrity that you know people get or if you love them as a person. What if that happened to him? How would you feel and Santa specifically to the Caucasian community, because that’s where we have a divide, not not only 

Latasha Morrison  36:24  

Yeah, 

Justin Holiday  36:24  

and other races too, but just specifically here in America, and what we’re talking about, and that something happened that person is if this happened to that person, specifically, unjustly he got killed by a police officer or by somebody else that was racist. How would you feel about that? You would mourn you would hurt the way we are hurting for our black community. So that’s why I was like, I want to make these shirts. And it was important for me to make sure we wore them while I was there. 

Latasha Morrison  36:55  

Mm hmm. 

Justin Holiday  36:56  

To see that is like the in my next shirts are specifically talking about NBA players is for everyone. It can be any person can wear it, but it started specifically with us having this platform having this fame, if this happened to us, you would treat us you would treat this choice differently. Because it’s a black person you don’t know you’re nowhere near you don’t care, or you can’t seem to try to understand let’s say it that way. If it was one of us, not saying me because I’m sure people some people don’t care about it. But there are people that do, you would try to find a way to understand what that feels like. And that’s why I made this shirt. Now it says in my next but it also has, I don’t know how many names or some names of African Americans Ooo, not even just having Americans people of color that have been killed by someone that was racist that I’ve been killed on unjustly by a police officer by police brutality that have been killed in a situation from a cop. And some people might not see it as police brutality or the cop could do the right thing maybe or maybe not. But when they’re when there’s answers needed from the family in the case in the in the law situation, that there’s no answers there’s no further investigation. There’s no closer for a family those people’s names on here as well because that’s not okay. There is a reason why. Certain things there’s gray areas certain things that’s and me being the person I am is not you can’t give me a clear reason why this is this way. why this happened, why that person was killed? Why a police officer got laid off if there’s gray area. If there’s no all of a sudden, no video footage, there’s no body cam footage. Videos are erased. If those things are missing, all of a sudden, we don’t we don’t show it now or we have it but we’re not gonna speak about it. If there’s gray hair regardless of maybe you guys can be right. I roll with 

Latasha Morrison  37:15  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  38:54  

And that’s not okay. This should be just like a white person being killed. Nine times out of 10 they’re getting all the facts of what happened how it went down we’re gonna rush this to you. There’s people there’s a person here in Indiana 

News Reporter  39:07  

and officers involved in the deadly shooting of McHale Rose are back on the job they returned to 

Justin Holiday  39:13  

was killed by police officers late night. There’s multiple stories of how happened went down. He posted some stuff on the story about when it happened. I think he ended up dying on the story. That was deleted, taken down. There was no body cam footage, but they say he was doing this. You say shot cops. Okay, I’m not saying he didn’t do that. 

Latasha Morrison  39:29  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  39:30  

What I’m saying is why don’t we know exactly what the fact is? Why has it been? It’s been 100 something days, maybe now the family has no closure. They don’t know what really happened. That’s not okay. The person can’t come back. Now. It’s not like we’re asking you to bring him back. We want to have closure. We want to have justice for these people. And so there are people like that on this because I know that some people look at shows like everybody owner didn’t get treated this way. This didn’t happen to him. Well, it did. Because I know if it was against somebody have diverse skin color that will have their answers nine times out of 10. Not every time because I know it’s not perfect, they will have their answers. They would have justice. And they’re able to do all these random you know, we want justice for this net and we’re gonna hop up and hurry up with us. No, we’re waiting in months, years before setting up is finally had trials for others. You know, George Floyd, Um Brianna Taylor finally had trials. Like Come on. 

Latasha Morrison  40:25  

Yeah, yeah. 

Justin Holiday  40:26  

That stuff’s not taken. They’re not taking their time with other people. And that’s not okay.

Latasha Morrison  40:30  

And some of it is not even going to trial like Brianna Taylor got 

Justin Holiday  40:33  

exactly 

Latasha Morrison  40:34  

the grand jury.

Justin Holiday  40:35  

Right. And let me say this before we continue on, because people get this all mixed up. Oh, you only know, every person in the world deserves this. Every human being, no matter if you’re white, you’re black, you’re Brown, you’re yellow, you’re red, every person. So every person should be fought for in this way. And the reason why we are in your words, making a big deal about it now is because no one else cares about us. We’re the only people we have for ourselves. 

Latasha Morrison  41:00  

Yeah. 

Justin Holiday  41:01  

So if you take care of us, if things are taken care of justice is done. You know, we’re all sinners, we’re gonna make mistakes, things aren’t gonna go the right way. One up to that. Don’t go out there make a mistake as a cop, and you’re trying to get off, you got to take what you got to take for that you do what you do this? 

Latasha Morrison  41:16  

Yes. 

Justin Holiday  41:16  

on you, you know that you did it. Take that mistake. And although To be honest, because if it happened to you, as somebody in your family, you will want somebody to do that for you. And so I just want people to understand that we have to stand up for, obviously, for my people. Yeah. And the thing is, I’ll fight for anybody that is done wrongly or unjustly, no matter what you look like, I will do it. I will post about any person of color. So please just stop trying to make it about. We’re doing this for certain like, No, we really care of our people. I care about my people, and I care about all people played all over the world by basketball. And every night, every coach, I play basketball and shoot so many countries. I’ve seen other people I’ve seen other cultures not love other cultures. I love seeing people that are different. And we have a problem being here in America that no, America is the way like No, it’s not. Yes, we have a place where we can be free and live a certain way. Other people don’t have that. But there are other places are beautiful. They’re people that are beautiful. languages are beautiful. cultures are beautiful. And you need to open up your eyes because at the same time you miss the world by just being so shut in. Living in your you know, your house in America. If you don’t Well, they’re not

Tandria Potts  42:25  

The talk. For some of you. This is a discussion where parents discuss sex and responsibility with their kids. But for black parents, there is another talk. Trust me as a black mother, I know this other talk comes whether your black son or daughter is a Christian, a star athlete, classical violinist or stem major. On this podcast, we like to educate. And there’s something here to learn as well. Listen, 

Justin Holiday  42:55  

How I was raised as a black man and things I had to be taught when I get stopped, when I wear when I go remember my mom used to really not like us wearing Do-rags out, which I understand. It can make you look a certain way. But now that I’ve grown up was like, You know what, that’s actually part of our culture.

Latasha Morrison  43:10  

It’s like, Explain Why? Explain this? Why do you wear do rags like because my brother sleeps in one, but he doesn’t wear out.

Justin Holiday  43:19  

Yeah, I don’t wear it out much anymore. But so I have long hair, I have braids or if you have waves, but one when you have braids and keeps your hair down, my braids will look like Afro. If I didn’t have the do rag on the lay down, there were ways that helps you lay hair down and training. So Laser Hair trains your hand the direction you wanted to go, and how you wanted to be and help preserve your hair. And that is just you know it, be honest with you helps our haircuts our hairstyles last longer. And that’s what we wear, and protects our hair. And at the same time though, that’s how it started. But it also became a style became part of our culture in that sense. And I will wear it out now. Not much because I don’t like to wear my like, you know to have my hair about wear out now. I don’t know about this I do to make people uncomfortable, but I do it to show people that if you know me, speaking to me right now. And you know, I’m not criminal, 

Latasha Morrison  44:16  

Right. 

Justin Holiday  44:17  

You know, you know, I’m not that so I’m wearing his dragon. i n your eyes, I look like a criminal. Well, first of all, I guess I look like a criminal Jr. Because I am black. But if I’m wearing a do-rag and I’m not the black guy that has a suit on with his haircut a certain way or look a certain way people expect us that we’ve always as black people done that to make sure that we can be accepted, do the best we can to be accepted, which is not completely a problem because we want to be successful. And we know we as black people, I don’t care what anybody says we’ve been to a whole lot. We find a way to get it done and get to where we want to go. We work for what we want. We change and manipulate things to be able to do it and especially thinking about a single mother, a black woman as much as they can do come on now you can’t. So that’s what we’ve always been trained to do is to do. This is like never forget that. I’m in the space to where I don’t have to do that to be to make money, right? And so at times I’m aware do rag. reason why I actually have my hair long and braided is for that reason. Okay. cornrows are part of our brown hair braided is part of our culture. And so that’s why I actually have long hair. I’ve always liked having long hair, but I’m like, No, I’m not gonna cut my hair short, because they’ve sent me more have a short haircut. And I’m not saying other people do that. But that’s my reasoning. And you like to express my culture. Yeah, and I like it. But like, it’s a meaning behind it, as well as my coach as much as I can. And having these braids and having different designs and allow people to be creative braiding my hair, do different things. Like there’s so much that goes into it. And so, yeah, that’s, that’s a big, big deal to me is not being afraid of expressing, yeah, myself, my people and finding ways to do it. 

Tandria Potts  45:55  

Okay. This touched me. Listen, 

Justin Holiday  46:00  

Again, I’m so excited to be able to, you know, be working in parties together. And I have to say that you’ve been doing a great job. Like I said, When I heard the podcast in them, I went on is like, this is exactly what we need, we need to be able to try to build this bridge between the two because I’m not the person that wants a normal black people to this and I want us to, you know, I want white people to be hurt is like, No, I want you to live together and love one another. And you you just you understand that. And you guys are doing it, man. So I have to say, one, congratulations, keep working and keep doing it. I’m glad to be a part of it now.

Latasha Morrison  46:32  

And you see that too, like in the bubble like you see with everything that’s happening that how some of the the white players are locking arms with you guys. And then so

Justin Holiday  46:43  

yeah, they love as I see as like brothers, they, they’re like the people that are actually able to be right with us. They know us every day, like if something happened like that near community, whoo, I’ll be backing them up. And I’m so thankful for all those guys. I mean, one guy, I actually have to point out who I thought did a great job. But he’s not even my teammate was um Miles Leonard that plays for Miami. And he has a brother that is in a service. So he actually stood to during the national anthem, which I didn’t care. Let me say this. How you express yourself how you express yourself. I didn’t. I’m a person that’s bothered when somebody wants to stand or kneel, just to make sure we understand. But he stood, and they interviewed him and he man, he spoke so well about how he, like I’m getting chills thinking about it, because I’ve never, I haven’t spoken to a Muslim. I never told him this. But he talked about how he has a brother in a service. It feels like he needs to stand up to make sure you know, he stand up for his brother and his brother that fought for us. And he’s at the same time. I think he might had his hand on his team or somebody I bought my black, African American brothers to know that I’m there for them. And I stand for them as well. And like it just like I literally was like I just think about, like the field that love from someone that doesn’t look like us is what I want. And he understands it. And he was able to show no, I support the support America support military, which I do as well. They allow me to be free. But he’s like I also support my African American brothers and sisters man, I thought that was big. So he was one person man that really, I wish I guess I would have said something to him. But we played him in playoffs and lost, like you know what? Not talking to you…

Latasha Morrison  48:19  

It’s not too late 

Justin Holiday  48:20  

not talking to you 

Latasha Morrison  48:21  

it’s not too late, you can send him this podcast. It’s not too late. And I think you know, the perfect thing to end this is like, you know, it’s not an either or it’s a both and. And it’s like we can stand for something and also supports, you know, he could stand for his brother but also support his black brothers and sisters. And so there’s a way to do that and so I’m so grateful for you. And for this time, and I look forward to talking to you. 

Justin Holiday  48:46  

Yeah, I have fun. Thank you

Tandria Potts  48:48  

The beauty and real magic of sports is the ability to assemble a community of talented individuals based on merit. This means that people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and cultural groups come together to reach common goals, creating the opportunity for the people to not only find common ground, but to work together to create common ground for others. In every community or group, the cream rises to the top, Justin has risen to become a voice and leader inside and outside the NBA. And we are blessed that he and Shanika are part of the be the bridge family working with us and the fight for social justice and the goal of racial reconciliation. Till next time, as Latasha always says, Let’s build bridges and not walls.

Faitth Brooks  49:38  

If you are a member of the donors table, you get access to today’s unedited episode. Go check it out.

Narrator  49:46  

Thanks for listening to the be the bridge podcast To find out more about the beat the bridge organization and or to become a bridge builder in your community. Go to BeTheBridge.com again, that’s BeTheBridge.com If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, remember to rate and review it on this platform and share it with as many people as you possibly can. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Today’s show was edited, recorded and produced by Travon Potts at integrated entertainment studios in metro Atlanta, Georgia. The host and executive producer is Latasha Morrison. Lauren C. Brown is the senior producer. Travon Potts was our transcriber. Please join us next time. This has been a be the bridge production. Be the bridge be the bridge. Be the bridge be the bridge and be the bridge the bridge

Transcribed by https://otter.ai