Jerry West Called Out JJ Redick for His Disrespectful Comments on the NBA’s Previous Generation
Ever since the HBO show Winning Time was released, when Jerry West is in the news I always like to see if the show was accurate. He vehemently disagreed with his portrayal. However, his comments toward JJ Redick at the end of last week tells me the show wasn't too far off.
On Friday Jerry West went on the SiriusXM NBA Show to discuss the Clippers, his career, and much more. West also had to address comments made by JJ Redick involving the NBA of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. JJ Redick stated that Bob Cousy couldn't dribble with his left hand and his generation was filled with plumbers and firefighters. Now he did state that the greats from all generations could play in any generation to try and make his comments a little nicer. But JJ made it clear that he believes the players from the 80s onward are just better. And this is what West had a problem with.
West went off on Redick, stating that:
"I know J.J. just a little bit, 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 12 points a game in the league? Somewhere along the way, numbers count. At that point and time, the players aren't what they used to be. J.J. certainly wasn’t going to guard the elite players. So you can nitpick anyone. 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 the ability to shoot the ball. Winning is all that mattered, that's what drove me. 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. JJ should be very thankful that he's made as much money as he's made, and Bob Cousy, whom I played against a couple of years, not very long — I just think it's disrespectful myself."
Look I understand where West is coming from. Basically, it's from a place of my generation wasn't bad so back off and be thankful you have a job because of us. I also love the pettiness from West saying that Redick wasn't a needle mover in his generation. He was just a specialist three-point shooter and without the three-pointer, he wouldn't be playing in the NBA. That is the type of pettiness I live for. Also, it's to be noted this is exactly how West was portrayed in HBO's Winning Time.
However, I do agree with JJ Redick. Basketball has evolved past what the average NBA player was doing pre-1980. Yes Jerry West, Pistol Pete, Wilt, The Big O, and Kareem were great; however, the average player today in the NBA could be an all-star in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. The NBA superstar is a more athletic and skilled superstar than those of the past. ANd the average NBA player can just do more than the average NBA player of the past.
Just look at shooting numbers and forget athleticism for a moment. For his career, Bob Cousy shot a horrendous 37% from the field and his best season was 39%. Even Russell Westbrook who is a horrible shooter shoots 44% from the field. The NBA players are just better today. So I do agree with JJ Redick; however, I understand why West is defending his era. Because if he doesn't it devalues his performance. Who mind you could've definitely played today. But not every superstar from that era could. Kudos on the petty though Mr. West and hopefully Jason Clarke who plays West on Winning Time took notes for next season.
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