Stephen A. Smith, JJ Redick and Chris Russo on First Take Photo credit: First Take

JJ Redick often doesn’t like the content the media chooses to focus on, and he doesn’t like the content NBA fans appear to crave.

Redick made his first appearance on First Take in months Tuesday morning and promptly went viral for claiming Doc Rivers never accepts accountability. Wednesday morning, Redick was back on First Take and ranted about his rant garnering so much more attention than nuts and bolts basketball analysis.

“This is the ecosystem we live in,” Redick began on First Take. “I can do a video on my podcast where I break down the last nine games the Pelicans have used Zion Williamson as the primary ballhandler and what type of actions that has led to. I looked it up this morning, 54,000 views on YouTube.

“But I wanna call out a coach yesterday. Oh, that gets tens of millions of engagements. That’s the ecosystem we live in. So, do fans actually want to be educated or not? Do they?”

Some fans do. Die-hard basketball fans want to be educated. Die-hard Pelicans fans are interested in how the team fares when Zion Williamson is their primary ballhandler. And those are the fans who might represent a good chunk of Redick’s 54,000 views on YouTube. But on Twitter and the internet, that’s not what sells to the masses.

First Take’s audience is not interested in a breakdown of Zion’s impact on the Pelicans as a ballhandler. Knicks fans and LeBron fans probably don’t care about Zion’s impact on the Pelicans as a ballhandler either. There’s certainly an audience for it, but the masses want to be entertained in their downtime, not educated. Which is part of why First Take continues to be successful.

Hosts spewing hot takes, yelling about recycled topics or feuding with an NBA coach has a better chance of garnering people’s attention as they mindlessly scroll through Twitter than a headline about the Pelicans and ballhandlers. On Tuesday, Redick called out his former coach and colleague, a person he had success under as a player and a person he’s now replacing on ESPN’s NBA Finals coverage. Did he really think that was just going to fly beneath a clip about Zion Williamson running the point in New Orleans?

Redick often complains about aggregators and the type of content he’s asked to take part in on First Take, but creating catchy headlines about something funny, entertaining, or controversial is not a new concept. Newspapers have been doing it for decades. Social media and the internet have just allowed for a lot more of it.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to