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Jrue Holiday taking leave for 2-time Olympian wife Lauren Holiday's brain surgery

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Jrue Holiday taking leave for 2-time Olympian wife Lauren Holiday's brain surgery

NEW ORLEANS -- Former U.S. soccer star Lauren Holiday has been diagnosed with a brain tumor while pregnant, and her husband, New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday, is taking indefinite leave from the NBA club to care for his wife, the Pelicans said Sunday.

"We are all praying for a healthy delivery of their first child and a successful surgery for Lauren," Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said in a prepared statement provided Sunday by the club. "Furthermore, we ask everyone to respect the Holiday's privacy at this time."

Lauren Holiday, who retired from soccer last year, was among the world's most respected players in the women's game during a career highlighted by Olympic gold medals with the U.S. national team in 2008 and 2012, and FIFA World Cup title in 2015. The midfielder played in 133 games for the U.S. team, scoring 24 goals. She also played professionally in the NWSL, winning a championship with FC Kansas City in 2015.

Lauren Holiday met Jrue at UCLA, where she played soccer and he played basketball. Jrue Holiday has been with New Orleans the past three seasons, but has spent most of that stint injured. He expects to return this season in full health and the Pelicans see him as a core player along with All-Star forward Anthony Davis.

"The most important thing for Jrue to do right now is be with his wife and family," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said in a statement. "Every one of our coaches and players understands what Lauren and Jrue are going through, and they know we're behind them one hundred percent. We'll continue to do everything we can to support them and help them get through these hard times."

In an interview with the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, which first reported Lauren Holiday's condition and Jrue Holiday's plan to take leave, Jrue Holiday said Lauren was diagnosed with a benign, operable tumor on the right side of her brain.

Their baby is due in mid-October, and in the interest of the health of both mother and baby, Lauren's brain surgery will take place about six weeks after delivery, Jrue Holiday said. The birth also could be induced early.

Jrue Holiday told the newspaper that Lauren has numbness on the right side of her face because the tumor is pressing on a nerve.

He said he and Lauren "are still very excited about the birth of our first child, but our focus shifted from having this magnificent blessing to making sure everything is going to be OK with Lauren and the child."

The couple has sought to guard their privacy during this time, and Lauren has yet to speak publicly about her condition.

For the time being, the couple plan to reside Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, near the Duke University medical specialists who'll handle Lauren Holiday's surgery. After Lauren's operation, Jrue will be a primary caretaker for both his wife and newborn. The Pelicans said they plan to send a trainer to North Carolina to help Jrue maintain his fitness and basketball skills during his absence.

"We encourage Jrue to take as much time as he needs to be with his wife and family before returning to the Pelicans," Demps said, adding that the top priority of team owners Tom and Gayle Benson "is the health and wellness of the people in the organization."

"We understand that Jrue will miss some games, and his teammates are prepared to step up in his absence," said Demps, whose own wife, Anita, is a cancer survivor and also has had a benign tumor removed from her brain. "We will welcome Jrue back with open arms when he is ready to return to the team."

Last season, Jrue Holiday played in 65 games, averaging 16.8 points, six assists, three rebounds and 1.4 steals in 28.2 minutes per game. For about the first half of last season, he played under minute restrictions as he came back from a stress fracture in his lower right leg that sidelined him for the better part of the previous two seasons.

His replacements to start the upcoming season could include Tim Frazier, who filled at the end of last season after Holiday was sidelined by fracture of his orbital eye wall. New Orleans also acquired former New York Kicks point guard Langston Galloway this offseason.

Pelicans combo guard Tyreke Evans also has played point guard in stints throughout his career, but the timeline on his comeback from knee surgery remains unclear.

Nike knock-offs and 'Jesus Shoes' — the strange and fickle sneaker world

Nike knock-offs and 'Jesus Shoes' — the strange and fickle sneaker world

The sneaker world can be a strange and fickle place. One minute you’re plunking down beaucoup bucks for the shoes you’ve been saving for, the next minute you find out your prized kicks are actually knock-offs from the black market.


Image credit: NBC News

Hey, it happens more often than you think. That scenario unfolded just this past week when almost 15,000 pairs of fake Nikes didn’t make it through customs at LA/Long Beach Seaport! A smooth $2 million plus of fake Off-White Jordan 1’s, Jordan 12’s, Jordan 11’s and Air Max ’97’s, all shipped from China in two containers labeled napkins.

You would probably need two containers of napkins to dry your tears if you put up a stack and a half for a pair of shoes that turned out to be just some Bobos with a fake swoosh. Ugh.

On the flip side, even when you are at an authentic retailer or website — deftly prepared with your credit card information at the ready, not even a freshly refreshed website is the right formula to bring home the shoes you’ve been plotting on for weeks, months or even years.


Image credit: Jesus Shoes Lookbook

Take, for instance, the $3,000 “Jesus Shoes” Brooklyn-based MSCHF put out last Tuesday, which sold out in mere minutes. The designers bought less than two dozen pairs of white Air Max 97’s for retail price, then transformed them by adding holy water blessed from the Jordan River (with some dye added to make the color more vibrant) in the sole of the shoe. They inscribed a Bible scripture in the side (Matthew 14:25, which chronicles Jesus walking on water) and added a mock blood drop on the tongue of the shoe to signify the blood of Christ. Not to mention, a crucifix interspliced through the laces, a red sole to mimic the red shoes worn by many popes and some type of frankincense accent. Crazy.

I personally have about a $200 budget on any pair of sneakers, so you won’t see me paying for wheels that go above $220 retail. Good luck to all of you who back up the Brinks truck for those crispy grails and the hypebeasts who live on the resale market and buy out releases in minutes.

May your toe box never crease and your laces stay clean.

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Sixers are No. 1 in Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Rankings for second year in a row

Sixers are No. 1 in Zach Lowe's NBA League Pass Rankings for second year in a row

The upcoming NBA season promises to be an entertaining one. Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are among the new arrivals in Los Angeles, Russell Westbrook is teaming up with James Harden in Houston and Zion Williamson is poised to rock rims.

And, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the most watchable team in the league this season is the Sixers. They're No. 1 in his NBA League Pass Rankings for the second consecutive season. The Lakers, Bucks, Clippers and Nuggets round out the top-five teams. 

Lowe's rankings grade each team in five categories: Zeitgeist, highlight potential, style, League Pass minutiae and unintentional comedy.

What makes the Sixers deserving of the No. 1 spot?

The Sixers are so weird, big, goofy and loaded with personality -- well, one mega-personality -- they repeat as League Pass champions despite losing the high-wattage curiosity factor of Markelle Fultz," Lowe writes. "I didn't think it was possible.

Lowe goes on to call Joel Embiid "the best trash-talker in the league," raise some interesting questions about how the team's gargantuan starting lineup will play together and highlight "exciting prospects" Matisse Thybulle and Zhaire Smith.

He doesn't even mention Mike Scott, who's hit a game-winning shot during the playoffs, taken a sip of a fan's beverage during a live game and said at media day that, while he's "not trying to be an enforcer ... when the bulls---- happens, I just react on that." There's also James "Ennis the Menace" Ennis, who savors attacking the offensive glass and said this summer the Sixers "can walk to the Finals in the East," and Kyle O'Quinn, who throws delicate bounce passes and enjoys attending Bar Mitzvahs.

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