JJ Redick's transition from being an NBA player to being an ESPN analyst and media personality has been really smooth, as Redick's takes have been a breath of fresh air. The majority of fans really like JJ on TV, but like always, not everyone can like you. Redick has been very vocal about his low opinion of the early NBA in the 50s and 60s, and the stars of that time haven't been shy about responding to JJ. "The Logo" Jerry West is the latest one.
Plumbers and firemen
A few months ago on ESPN, Redick went on the infamous rant when he was defending CP3's legacy from Chris "Mad Dog" Russo by using Bob Cousy as an example of why that era is non-comparable to today's NBA:
"Bob Cousy couldn't dribble with his left hand. Bob Cousy won championships when there were eight teams in the NBA, and you had to win two playoff series. Let's celebrate Bob Cousy in his era, but you can't compare pre-1980 with the modern NBA. You cannot...Did Bob Cousy ever shoot over 40% in his career? Not once. He was being guarded by plumbers and firemen."
JJ Redick, ESPN
Even though a lot of younger fans agree with Redick, the old-school players didn't really appreciate it. So much a 93-year-old Bob Cousy would savagely respond to Redick:
"People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention... When you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won't do that. But I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced."
Bob Cousy, SiriusXM NBA Radio
The whole situation really dyed down, and not much was brought out of it for a few months now, but Jerry West made an appearance on SiriusXM NBA Radio recently and decided to share his thoughts on Redick's comments:
"Tell me what his career looked like. What did he do that determined games? He averaged 12 points a game in the league...I just think it's very disrespectful."
Jerry West, SiriusXM NBA Radio
West didn't hold back in roasting Redick while explaining how the game has vastly changed, but pointing out that doesn't mean the greats of that era like West himself, Cousy, Russell, Chamberlain, Baylor, Robertson, and many more should be less valued.
The reaction to West's take has been somewhat conflicting, with one side definitely backing up "The Logo" and that era of basketball, while the other side is backing up Redick and saying he would have dominated in West's era.
Going too far for each side is probably wrong, as you can see the point in both arguments. The pioneers of the NBA definitely deserve a lot of respect, and comparing them to plumbers and firemen is not the way. But also, at the same time, you have to admit the game and player have evolved, making it pretty hard to compare the eras.
All in all, it's still pretty badass to see the OG's like Cousy and West still find the time to stand up for themselves and their legacies in such a boss manner.