Usually, it’s professional athletes who discredit media members for never playing. Not media members discrediting professional athletes for not watching the sport they played. But Chris “Mad Dog” Russo is different. And during a debate about Larry Bird’s three-point shooting prowess Wednesday morning on ESPN’s First Take, Russo attempted to discredit JJ Redick, for not watching the ‘80s NBA live.
Redick, a great long-range shooter himself, made the argument that Bird can’t be considered the greatest three-point shooter ever. Why? He averaged less than two attempts per game. A fair point. Russo argued that Bird is in the conversation for the greatest three-point shooter of all time. He also added Redick can’t hang in the debate because the 38-year-old is forced to watch ‘80s basketball on YouTube, a hilariously unfair point.
Mad Dog & JJ Reddick. This is gonna be a classic 😭
[🎥: ESPN/youtube] pic.twitter.com/PprjLkPzkQ
— SplashBrosMuse (@SplashBrosMuse) February 15, 2023
“You and I are gonna sit down, we’re gonna sit there and we’re gonna watch Finals games from the ‘80s,” Redick told Russo.
“Here’s the difference,” Russo began to argue. “I saw the games and I was at the games, you were not! You’re watching them on YouTube! I saw the games, I watched the games at the time. I watched all these games, you weren’t alive when these games were being played…you gotta watch these games at the time, watching them on YouTube 40 years later is not the same.”
Well, that’s just a ridiculous argument. Redick had Russo on the ropes and the Radio Hall-of-Famer became desperate. If that’s the argument Russo is going to lean into, there really isn’t much sense in having them on set again. Russo notoriously makes every debate into a battle of eras. Redick didn’t watch pre-90s basketball live. He played in the NBA in the 2000s, but even that can’t compete with the fact that Russo watched ‘80s basketball live. And Redick is confined to watching Bird take his two three-point shot attempts per game on YouTube.
I’m a firm believer that you didn’t have to play a sport professionally to analyze it. But it’s even more ridiculous to claim someone had to watch a game live to analyze it. Coaches and scouts in every sport assess teams and players by watching tape. Considering his love of history, Russo of all people should appreciate Redick’s interest in watching past eras of the NBA. On YouTube or however else he consumes it. It would be one thing if Redick said he never saw a clip of Bird taking a shot. But Russo attempting to use watching ‘80s basketball on YouTube against him was hilarious.