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J.J. Redick has turned into perhaps the most prominent advocate for the current generation of NBA players on television. That’s not a huge surprise, as Redick played in the NBA as recently as 2021, but whether it’s been through his podcast or his appearances on ESPN, Redick has brought a unique perspective to a world that is largely filled with people who never played in the NBA or players/coaches who retired a long time ago.
Redick’s support of the modern NBA led to him coming under some fire from older fans and players when, during a conversation about Chris Paul, he told Chris “Mad Dog” Russo of First Take that Bob Cousy played against firemen and plumbers. Cousy was unsurprisingly not a fan of his comments, and during a cameo on Sirius XM NBA, Jerry West wondered what made Redick an authority on these sorts of matters.
“I just think it’s very disrespectful”
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) July 22, 2022
“Obviously the game is completely different, the athletes are completely different, and I know J.J. just a little bit,” West said. “He’s a very smart kid and everything, but tell me what his career looked like? What did he do that determined games? He averaged what, he averaged 12 points a game in the league. Somewhere along the way, numbers count. At that point in time, the players aren’t what they used to be. J.J. certainly wasn’t gonna guard elite players, and so you can nitpick anyone — and the only reason I’m talking about him is because he was not an elite player, but he was a very good player. But he had a place on the team because of his ability to shoot the ball.
“But those players of that era — and again, that was when I started to see the difference in athleticism — my era, I was an athlete way before my time,” West continued. “I had a huge vertical, probably no one in the league was much faster than me, and certainly the competitive part of it, I would put myself among any player that played the game, today also. Winning is all that mattered, that’s what drove me. And I subtly got better every year, we didn’t have the facilities to get better, we had to work in the summers to support our family. But J.J. should be very thankful that he’s made as much money as he’s made, and Bob Cousy — who I played against a couple of years, not very long — I just think it’s very disrespectful to say.”
Generational debates in basketball are nothing new, and Redick has gone into why he finds the conversations that venerate players in the past at the expense of guys playing now “annoying.” Still, it seems like this has really touched a nerve with Cousy and West.