Milwaukee Bucks: Jrue and Lauren Holiday’s competitive relationship

One of the cool things to see since the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship has been the string of podcast appearances that members of the team have been making. Mike Budenholzer was on ESPN’s Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post, Brook Lopez joined his brother (and former Buck) Robin on J.J. Redick’s The Old Man and the Three, and Jrue Holiday made his second appearance on that same podcast, to name a few.

Holiday made another podcast appearance, but this time was joined by his wife and two-time Olympic gold medalist Lauren on Tea with A & Phee, hosted by WNBA superstars (and gold medalists!) A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces and Napheesa Collier of the Minnesota Lynx. The podcast itself is tremendous, and I’m a big fan of theirs, so if you’d like to listen for yourself, it’s presented by Just Women’s Sports.

The episode with the Holidays was certainly a spirited one, with the couple touching on a number of different topics. They told the story of how their incredible Jrue and Lauren Holiday Fund had come to be and how the pandemic allowed them to spend more time together.

Jrue also had a wonderful quote about women’s sports and how he admires how hard they play and train.

Females play … I just feel like they play the game better, like they play it harder all the time…the way that you all play, the way that you all train it’s always, like, 100 percent all the time. And I would say for men, it’s not always like that. So going to watch her play or even watching y’all play, it’s fun to watch because I feel like that’s the way the game should be played.

The true highlight of the podcast, though, came when the two talked about their respective competitive natures, how they would give each other feedback, and how Lauren, in particular, can be a bit more aggressive in her feedback of Jrue’s game, especially in the recent championship run.

Jrue & Lauren Holiday’s competitive relationship during the Milwaukee Bucks championship run

It’s no secret that Holiday struggled offensively at times during Milwaukee’s championship run, particularly in the second round against the Brooklyn Nets. It was something that Holiday was pretty open about in his second appearance on The Old Man and the Three, including some of the feedback he would receive from Lauren.

He credited Lauren with being one of the main reasons as to why he ultimately decided to go play in the Olympics and for keeping him locked in and aggressive in games. That was something that was driven home even further on their Tea with A & Phee appearance.

As you would expect between two professional athletes, Jrue and Lauren are both insanely competitive individuals. One moment that truly encapsulates how competitive Lauren is, was when she told a story about how she asked their tennis coach for a separate lesson from Jrue so she could get better because she wants to beat him that badly.

Another is when they recall a game of “Family Feud” where Lauren admits she did name-call, and Jrue says the two usually have to be on the same team for things because they’re so competitive.

That would carry into Lauren’s feedback of Jrue’s performance on the basketball court, where Lauren is known to be very critical of Jrue. There was a moment on the podcast where Jrue says Lauren told him that if he wasn’t aggressive enough or didn’t have a good game, he shouldn’t come home. “She is encouraging,” he does admit. “It’s not like she is just talking trash all the time.” But the way they give each other feedback is very different. As Jrue notes, “She’s brutally honest and I just use different words.”

My personal favorite moment on the podcast was when Lauren tells Wilson and Collier about what Jrue does to prove someone is wrong. “If Jrue thinks you’re wrong, he’s going to prove it to you,” Lauren says. “So if he thinks like the gameplan isn’t right or something’s not going right, he’s going to stick to it just because he wants to prove that it’s wrong.”

It was a great insight into how Jrue operates and that it’s not only the Bucks coaches who remind Jrue that he needs to keep being aggressive, even when things aren’t always going his way offensively.

The two share an incredibly special bond, and I highly recommend people listen to their appearance, as it’s some terrific banter between them. Wilson and Collier are also great hosts and get a lot out of their guests.