JJ Redick has made a quick habit out of appearing on morning debate shows and making an example out of the regular hosts, as he demonstrated with Mad Dog Russo last month during a First Take appearance.
Redick was back on First Take Tuesday morning, joined by newly-signed ESPN contributor CJ McCollum, and together both guest hosts once again demonstrated the value of rotating panelists who approach issues from different angles and with much different approaches to debate and discussion.
When Smith went into an admittedly calm and somewhat reasoned series of takes about Russell Westbrook, he also dropped that he didn’t like Westbrook attending new Laker coach Darvin Ham’s introductory press conference.
Redick and McCollum were immediately on him for that, but not in the shouty, theatrical style most people have come to expect from this television format. Instead, it was a fairly reasoned discussion, albeit with both guests not letting up at all.
The whole clip is here, with the rebuttal starting at the 2:58 mark:
(Extra points for Redick’s pen flying out of his hands at the 2:24 mark.)
That’s actually riveting television! It’s good! There’s nuance, conflict, pressing, confrontation, and a complete and total lack of yelling. In May, we wrote this about the utility of having guest hosts like McCollum and Redick join:
Most of the time, these morning sports debate shows are pablum at best, actively harmful at worst. Redick, though, offered an excellent potential justification for their ongoing proliferation: the chance to see guests stop by and destroy the main hosts.
If First Take featured more people dropping by to point out with palpable frustration how problematic and vacuous a lot of the arguments can be on a daily basis, that would truly be a show worth watching.
You know, actual debate, instead of empty theater designed to soullessly manufacture conflict and outrage from one camp or another for the sake of the all-powerful “engagement” metric.
McCollum and Redick forcing Stephen A. to back off of a take (or at least explain where he was coming from with it, without letting him off the hook): legitimately entertaining. More of that, please.