Dominique Wilkins has entered the ring in a bout between JJ Redick and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo from ESPN’s First Take.
Last week, Redick and Russo were embroiled in a debate between Larry Bird and Steph Curry. Russo claimed Bird was a better three-point shooter, despite averaging just two attempts per game. He argued the NBA was a much more physical game in the 1980s. Redick pushed back on Russo, as he often does on First Take, arguing that today’s NBA is just as physical.
Dominique Wilkins, who played from 1982-1999, recently joined Justine Termine on SiriusXM. Wilkins seemed extra sensitive about Redick’s belief that today’s NBA is just as physical as previous eras.
“Redick doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about,” Wilkins ranted. “What basketball were you watching? To say something as idiotic as that is ridiculous. When you can put your hand on a guy’s hip and make him go a certain way, you can put the elbow in his chest to slow him which we called slowing the guy up when he was coming down the lane. How many guys can deal with that type of pressure? And for JJ Redick who’s played this game, I am very disappointed that he said something so stupid.”
“Redick doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about”
— SiriusXM NBA Radio (@SiriusXMNBA) February 21, 2023
“We had our time, it was a great time. It’s their time now. But don’t crap on us to prove your point, because it doesn’t make sense and it’s not valid,” Wilkins continued. “I just don’t like the disrespect. And to say that about Larry Bird? Less physicality? Is he stupid? It’s just a stupid comment to make.”
Harsh. Today’s NBA players are more physical than the players from any other era, but few fans would agree with Redick that today’s play is just as physical as it was in the ‘80s when the Bad Boy Pistons were roaming the hardwood. But it’s not a take worthy of questioning Redick’s intelligence. Redick did, however, clarify that there’s a difference between physical basketball and physical fouls in basketball, which have been eliminated.
This is the second time Redick triggered an older NBA player during a First Take argument with Russo. Last year, Bob Cousy pushed back on Redick’s slight that older eras of the NBA were comprised of part-time plumbers and firemen.