“It means a lot,” Holiday said after receiving the Joe Dumars Trophy, which is given to the NBA player who best represents the ideals of sportsmanship on the court. “Just knowing that it came from the players, the guys that go through this with me and put their bodies on the line, train in the offseason, it means a lot.”
The 30-year-old Holiday, who received 130 of 343 first-place votes in balloting of NBA players, was one of six finalists who were selected by a panel of league executives after each team nominated a single player.
The other finalists — one from each division — were, in finishing order, Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (a two-time winner), Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes, San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie.
“It’s hard to put all the adjectives into one sentence,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Holiday. “He’s just thoughtful, considerate, deep thinking, but plays the game the right away and has a toughness and a realness about him that … players around the league just respect the way he handles himself. Great poise. Great character. He’s all about winning.
“… The guy just makes a difference, and players around the league recognize that and appreciate that and have honored him. It’s special.”
Holiday, a 12-year veteran, averaged 17.7 points, 6.1 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 59 games this season. He was acquired from New Orleans as part of a four-team trade on Nov. 24.