NBA Star Gives Up His Career to Take Care of Pregnant Wife Diagnosed With Brain Tumor

May 13, 2019 Updated: May 13, 2019

Smooth sailing is what we all hope for in life, a happy family, a fulfilling career, good health. It’s when dark clouds loom over our happy lives, when we lose loved ones, or when illness strikes us or family members—that’s when what’s really important comes into focus.

It’s nice to be reminded that you can get through the rough spots, though.

NBA player for the New Orleans Pelicans Jrue Holiday was making 9 million and change a year. He and his wife, former U.S. soccer star Lauren Cheney (now Holiday), were expecting their first child. You could say the road ahead of them looked pretty bright in late 2015 and early 2016.

Around that time, they got the difficult news: she was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor and would have to undergo treatment.

On Sept. 4, 2016, the Pelicans announced that Holiday would be taking indefinite leave from playing—he was a guard on the team. For Holiday, it was a choice he made with no hesitation. He felt that it was more important to take care of his wife and the child growing inside her, and that his career should take a backseat to his family.

“My family comes before basketball,” Holiday told Nola.

His coach and the team had his back all the way and showed their support in a statement:

“The most important thing for Jrue to do right now is be with his wife and family,” said coach Alvin Gentry. “Every one of our coaches and players understands what Lauren and Jrue are going through, and they know we’re behind them 100 per cent.”

“We are all praying for a healthy delivery of their first child and a successful surgery for Lauren,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps added. “Furthermore, we ask everyone to respect the Holidays’ privacy at this time.”

The couple’s plan was for Lauren to first give birth some time around September 2016 and for her to undergo surgery six weeks later. Labor would be induced if necessary.

Thankfully, everything worked out favorably. The mother gave birth to their baby girl Jrue Tyler Holiday, and the tumor was successfully removed in October. Though the couple have more or less kept to themselves about their family life since then, their radiant, beautiful daughter, now a toddler, features prominently all over Lauren’s Instagram account.

It would seem that the dark cloud looming over their lovely family has now passed.

No less lovely than their happy ending is the story of how Holiday and Cheney first met. As the story goes, they were both attending UCLA at the time; they were seated nearby one another when a young lady asked Holiday if he was Darren Collinson, also an NBA player. He told her who he was, and then Cheney, who was sitting behind him, said that he was “cuter” than Darren anyway.

They were both in relationships with other people at the time, but they started dating after he was drafted to play with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2009. And then in 2013, they got married.

After the U.S. women’s soccer team defeated Japan in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Lauren hung up her cleats. Six months later, she was pregnant with their first child, and the rest is pretty much history. May they live happily ever after, with clear blue skies ahead, and not a cloud in sight.

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