Celtics Legend Puts JJ Redick in His Place After Low-Blow Remark

Bob Cousy responds to JJ Redick

Getty Ex-NBA sharpshooter JJ Redick.

It’s difficult to compare the legacies of NBA players from different eras because they played in the league at different times. No one knows for sure how the likes of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain would fare in today’s NBA anymore than they would know how LeBron James and Kevin Durant would fare in the league back in the 1960s. But analysts like JJ Redick have made comparisons like that before.

JJ Redick caused a stir when he said that Bob Cousy “was going up against plumbers and firemen” during his playing days with the Boston Celtics on ESPN’s First Take back on April 20, 2022.


JJ Redick calls out Mad Dog Russo in a fiery First Take debate 🍿JJ Redick calls out Mad Dog Russo in a fiery First Take debate 🍿 JJ Redick calls out Chris "Mad Dog" Russo in a heated debate on First Take. #ESPN #NBA #FirstTake ✔️Subscribe to ESPN+ espnplus.com/youtube ✔️ Get the ESPN App: espn.com/espn/apps/espn ✔️Subscribe to ESPN on YouTube: es.pn/SUBSCRIBEtoYOUTUBE ✔️ Subscribe to NBA on ESPN on…2022-04-20T15:43:37Z

For full context, Redick only did this because he was debating with Chris Russo as to whether Chris Paul, who Redick played with on the Los Angeles Clippers from 2013 to 2017, is a transcendent player by comparing Paul’s NBA legacy to Cousy’s. Redick acknowledged Cousy’s reputation as one of the NBA’s all-time greats but labeled Cousy’s competition as “plumbers and firemen” to emphasize how much stronger Paul’s competition is by comparison.

Cousy did not take this lying down. Although he refused to respond to Redick’s criticism of his competition, he criticized Redick right back in an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio on May 19, 2022, for publicly taking a shot at Cousy for what Cousy believed to be the purpose of gaining more attention.

“People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility,” Cousy said. “So, when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that.”

Redick’s comparison was directed more at propping up Chris Paul than it was at tearing Bob Cousy down, but Cousy’s level-headed response is understandable in this situation.


Cousy Praised the Stars of His Era

Cousy stuck to his word that he would not respond to Redick’s direct criticism of him for the era he played in. However, he did respond to Redick’s comment about Cousy playing against supposed firemen and plumbers by propping up players from his era.

Those players included Bill Russell, arguably the greatest Celtic in franchise history, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, and Jerry West, all of whom are considered among the greatest NBA players of all time.

I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. And I’ll just give you a few of their names of these firemen that I played with and against during those years. How about Bill Russell, the aforementioned? Not too bad a player. Wilt Chamberlain, remember that guy? He wasn’t bad. I guess he must have fought fires as well. But in any event, Wilt Chamberlain. Still the best, in my judgment, small forward that ever played the game, a guy named Elgin Baylor. A couple of point guards that weren’t too shabby, my colleague who also had an award created, guy named Oscar Robertson, who was pound for pound the best player perhaps in the game. Jerry West wasn’t too shabby.

Even if Cousy played in a different league, he played against some of the league’s greatest talents ever during his playing days. The league may not have been as deep then as it is now, but Cousy and the Celtics had their obstacles back then.


Cousy Praised Celtics Teammates From His Playing Days

After praising some of the league’s greatest players from his days as a player, Cousy then shouted out some of his Celtics teammates from that era too as well as other players from that same time frame.

The guys on our team, Sam and K.C. Jones, a guy named “Hondo” Havlicek wasn’t too bad. Tom Heinsohn, Frank Ramsey, George Mikan, Bob Pettit – I could go on and on. We must have had the best firemen and plumbers on the planet at the time. And I was very proud to play with all of them.

All of the players mentioned above made the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame either for how good they were or because of their impact on the game. No matter what anyone thinks of how they would fare in today’s NBA now compared to the era they played, the league would not be where it is today had it not been for the players that Cousy played with as well as against.

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