By Greg Levinsky
A relaxed and calm John Holland found his way back to his alma mater, Boston University, after a workout at the Boston Celtics practice facility. While a domineering presence on the court, Holland’s affability belies his disposition.
“Go out and do what you love” the 27 year old Holland said from a cozy booth inside the George Sherman Union. “Just go after your dream, whatever it is. Whatever you are passionate about, just go after it.”
The 2011 School of Communication graduate enjoyed a decorated four year career at Boston University, leading the Terriers to an NCAA tournament berth in his senior year.
Holland’s five year professional career has taken him to the NBA Summer league two consecutive years, as well as training camp with the San Antonio Spurs. Holland has also spent time playing in the top leagues in Spain, France and Turkey, before deciding to return stateside for the 2015-2016 season to pursue his NBA dream.
As a professional rookie playing for Chorale Roanne in France, Holland was named a league all star. He put up impressive statistics in his seasons overseas, which enabled him to secure a comfortable salary.
“It was just all my time overseas. I really learned so much about different cultures and stuff, actually it was a blessing” said Holland reflecting on his time abroad. While overseas, the Bronx, NY native collected six figure paychecks.
However, Holland chose to return the U.S. for the 2015-2016 season “to give it one last push,” playing for the Canton Charge, affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Holland was a second tier player in the D-League, making a modest $19,000, a steep dropoff from previous salaries.
“I mean that hurt, but it wasn’t so much about the money as it was the opportunity to be called up.” He added that “when you’re in the D-League you’re around, so if they like you they take you.”
Luckily for Holland, a team took interest as he received that elusive “call up.” With two games to go in the regular season, Holland secured a multi-year contract with the Boston Celtics. Holland remained with the team for the remainder of the regular season and throughout the Celtics playoff run, seeing action in one postseason contest.
Although neither Holland’s roster spot nor contract is guaranteed for the upcoming season, he believes that he belongs on the team. Holland thought for a moment and candidly revealed that he has “not really” fulfilled his dream yet. “I feel like I can play at this level. Not just be on a team, not just be around. I want to play, I want to be successful, and I think I can.”