"My family comes before basketball."
Jrue Holiday put it succinctly when he announced he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from the NBA to care for his wife, Lauren, who is pregnant with their first child and was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.
"I'm obviously blessed to play this game and be in the position I am in, but my wife is the most important thing in the world to me. She comes before anything else," the New Orleans Pelicans point guard told The Times-Picayune.
The couple married in July 2013. Lauren, a two-time Olympic gold medal winning soccer player, retired from the sport last summer to focus full-time on starting a family. In June, she began experiencing "painful headaches" and was diagnosed with a benign tumor.
Jrue, 26, called the news "devastating."
Fortunately, the tumor is operable and not a threat to Lauren and Jrue's unborn daughter. The 28-year-old is due in October, but the couple is hoping to induce early so that Lauren can undergo surgery six weeks later to remove the tumor.
"Obviously, we were and 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," Jrue explained. "Our priorities right now are being able to manage Lauren's symptoms and still have a fairly healthy pregnancy."
Lauren's surgery and subsequent recovery will occur well into the NBA regular season and Jrue will miss an unknown number of games to take care of his wife and newborn.