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JJ Redick may not have been an NBA All-Star, but he was one of the scrappiest and dependable guards in the league in his 15-year career. Now moving into the world of broadcasting, the former Duke University standout took on Stephen A. Smith after a debate over whether or not NBA players fear LeBron James the way they feared Michael Jordan.
Redick was a guest analyst on ESPN’s First Take program on Tuesday (Nov. 23) with Smith and host Molly Qerim when the pair got into the entire situation that unfolded between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons when James elbowed Isiash Stewart in the eye and nearly sparked a brawl. Smith insisted that today’s players don’t fear King James in the same fashion past stars didn’t dare take on Air Jordan, prompting Redick to shut it down and remind Stephen A that he actually played against LeBron.
In something of a slow burn, fans are now reacting to Stephen A’s quips for essentially calling LeBron soft and Redick letting it be known he actually knows something about the game from an upfront perspective.
On one hand, it’d be fair to say that James has been the face of the NBA for the past 19 years and has four championships and miles of accolades to prove it. Even in season 19, James is still one of the NBA’s best players and is a lock as a Hall Of Famer. Still, the whole tough guy debate seems weird because it’s about basketball and getting the Larry O’Brien trophy, not street cred on the hardwood.
Check out the full debate and the reactions below.