NBA player turned podcast bro JJ Redick did some guest spots on ESPN First take lately, and he’s gotten some positive attention from the case. More recently, he faulted his colleague Chris Russo for barking at some Fox News talking points about Draymond Green, portraying himself as the rare thinker and virtuous First take panelist.
Redick is a smart guy, and seems to understand better than most that his “success” on First take entirely depends on the predetermined role you are willing to play and how to act as a foil to whoever is on the show that day. Redick has done well to carve out a niche as the Smart And Sober One, but it’s a prized position that can only be inhabited for so long. As Redick himself admitted yesterday, the very nature of the show dictates that everyone eventually becomes The Real Big Dumbass.
It’s obviously funny, for the fact that Redick is trying to position himself by saying, Oh yeah? Well, I’m just a ridiculous circus clown who lets TV producers put stupid words in my mouth! as a kind of removal of a random user from Twitter. It’s also a good reminder of how that shit works, and always has.
But mostly, it’s confusing. A lot of people get paid dearly to be professionally stupid on TV, and while I can shake my head, I can also understand why they do it. There’s the money, of course, but it’s also honestly hard to imagine some of these pranksters doing anything else with their lives. What is Chris Russo supposed to do? Work in a bank?
However, JJ Redick doesn’t have to be here to do this to himself. He played 15 seasons in the NBA, earned over $100 million, and in the process shed his boring asshole image that was granted to him the minute he signed up for Duke. Redick could do anything with the rest of his life, and yet he chooses to wake up at an unholy hour in the morning, walk into the ESPN studio, and sometimes say things he knows are stupid and untrue on camera. This suggests something quite chilling: Redick is actually the biggest evil debate of them all. He doesn’t have to do that. He likes to do that.