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For most of his career, J.J. Redick was a relatively uncontroversial NBA player, known for his history at Duke and sharpshooting ability.
Since turning to the broadcast world however, Redick has made a name for himself by making obnoxious remarks about past eras of basketball.
Just a few months ago, Redick went after Celtics legend Bob Cousy during a conversation comparing him with Chris Paul. He said that Cousy’s achievements were in an era where “plumbers and firemen” played in the league, meaning his numbers and success were less impressive:
Redick’s remarks were noticed by another NBA legend from a different era; Jerry West.
West’s remarkable playing career briefly overlapped with Cousy and came from the similar “plumbers and fireman” timeframe.
After his career ended, West has had an equally successful run as an executive for multiple teams, including the Lakers, Warriors and Clippers.
After hearing about Redick’s criticisms, West jumped to Cousy’s defense.
During a recent SiriusXM appearance, he acknowledged that while the game has changed, Redick’s in no position to be casting aspersions on anyone else’s career:
“Obviously the game is completely different. The athletes are completely different. I know J.J. a little bit, a very smart kid and everything — but tell me what his career looked like. What did he do that determined games? He averaged, what, 12 points a game in the league?”
West continued, discussing how Redick wasn’t always playing against the best himself:
“Somewhere along the line, numbers count. At that point in time, the players aren’t what they used to be. J.J. certainly wasn’t gonna guard the elite players. And so you can nitpick anyone. The only reason I’m talking about him is he was not an elite player. He was a very good player. But he had a place on a team because of his ability to shoot the ball.”
West is right, of course, Redick was not exactly a Hall of Fame level player himself, unlike Cousy and his incredible run in Boston.
Redick’s comments were unnecessary and seemingly designed to spark controversy. While the athletic ability in the modern NBA is unquestionably higher than it used to be, that doesn’t diminish past accomplishments. Cousy himself could quite easily have benefited from modern training and fitness techniques.
But for Redick, it seemingly makes him feel superior to past generations to imply that he faced a level of competition that more impressive former players couldn’t have handled.
Follow Ian Miller on Twitter: @ianmSC
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