JJ Redick and Shannon Sharpe on First Take Photo credit: First Take

Much has been made about the Lakers’ hiring of former ESPN NBA broadcaster JJ Redick, including sports media figures citing Redick’s podcast with Lakers star LeBron James as the biggest reason he got the job. However, ESPN Radio host Evan Cohen seems to believe Redick made more of an impact due to his viral clip on First Take.

Redick was previously a frequent guest on First Take, often serving as the voice of reason amid bold hot takes about the NBA on the show.

Cohen also agrees that Redick’s podcast with LeBron played a role in the Lakers making the move to hire Redick. But on his show, Unsportsmanlike, on Friday, Cohen pointed to one particular First Take moment back in February where Redick called out the show for all of the hot takes and hypothetical scenarios, a moment that Cohen believes set up the podcast opportunity in the first place.

“I think there is an exact moment where… looking back on it, I personally look back on it and say that’s the moment he got hired by the Lakers,” said Cohen. “It’s not yesterday, it was February 21st. February 21st, JJ Redick went on First Take and this is when he got the L.A. Lakers job. He makes those comments, it goes viral. Less than one month later, he starts the podcast with LeBron James.

“The Los Angeles Lakers are finishing up their season. They are watching Darvin Ham coach their team. They are looking at LeBron James and Anthony Davis not paying attention to him. LeBron starts the podcast with JJ Redick, I believe, due to those words. JJ Redick and LeBron James start the podcast on March 18th. From March 18th until yesterday, speculation starts to ramp up. And then he gets the head coaching job. If JJ Redick doesn’t say that to Stephen A. Smith, I don’t know that he is the head coach of the Lakers.”

It’s a fair argument. LeBron and Redick have consistently talked about how the Mind the Game focuses simply on the Xs and Os of NBA basketball. Chances are, LeBron saw Redick’s message about his hatred of hot-take discussions as a great opportunity to fill a niche in sports media to make a podcast focusing solely on the more strategic elements of basketball.

Regardless, the Lakers certainly hope that bringing in Redick is enough to convince LeBron James to stay in Los Angeles. LeBron is expected to opt out of his contract with the Lakers, but all signs point to him returning on a new contract with the Lakers.

[Unsportsmanlike Radio on X]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.