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Jrue Holiday showcases his 'super champion' defense in gold-medal win

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Olympics

SAITAMA, Japan — NBA champion. Gold medalist. Fence-bender.

Jrue Holiday has had a few good weeks.

Draymond Green sat down still buzzing from the champagne and the Americans' fourth straight gold medal when he held out his hands, his palms facing his face, and pressed the tips of his fingers together.

"Defense," Green said, "it's kind of like a fence."

As he held his fingers together, Green talked about how players need to tilt that fence, to create pressure, to make getting through even tougher while clearing the way to go the other direction. It's like a nose tackle getting pressure up the middle of an offensive line.

Those 300-pound hosses? They bend the fence. So does Jrue Holiday.

 

Jayson Tatum was more direct.

"This," he said, "is a super champion."

Fence-bender, super champion, whatever. Holiday quickly found his role on the American men's basketball team and starred in it. He still trails his wife, Lauren, a former American star, two golds to one.

Holiday picked up his first by setting the tone for the Americans on the defensive end, a truly valuable trait on a team mostly filled with superstar scorers used to being the focal points of their offenses.

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