JJ Redick may not have been an NBA All-Star, but he was one of the scrappiest and dependable guards in the league in his 15-year career. Now moving into the world of broadcasting, the former Duke University standout took on Stephen A. Smith after a debate over whether or not NBA players fear LeBron James the way they feared Michael Jordan.
Redick was a guest analyst on ESPN’s First Take program on Tuesday (Nov. 23) with Smith and host Molly Qerim when the pair got into the entire situation that unfolded between the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons when James elbowed Isiash Stewart in the eye and nearly sparked a brawl. Smith insisted that today’s players don’t fear King James in the same fashion past stars didn’t dare take on Air Jordan, prompting Redick to shut it down and remind Stephen A that he actually played against LeBron.
“In my estimation, from the people that I’ve spoken to covering the league, [LeBron] has never been feared. … With LeBron, you believe you can take him. You believe he can be had.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 23, 2021
In something of a slow burn, fans are now reacting to Stephen A’s quips for essentially calling LeBron soft and Redick letting it be known he actually knows something about the game from an upfront perspective.
On one hand, it’d be fair to say that James has been the face of the NBA for the past 19 years and has four championships and miles of accolades to prove it. Even in season 19, James is still one of the NBA’s best players and is a lock as a Hall Of Famer. Still, the whole tough guy debate seems weird because it’s about basketball and getting the Larry O’Brien trophy, not street cred on the hardwood.
Check out the full debate and the reactions below.
Media always make stuff up to elevate MJ and Kobe (aka MJ like) to disrespect LeBron. Stephen A with these backhanded remarks are crazy that holds weight cause ppl believe it. Then JJ tell him Perk tell him. But they switch up no fear him on the court no fear physically stfu https://t.co/MujlrMqfHW
— Elle Banks (@TalkSports_Elle) November 23, 2021
Why is Stephen A. Smith questioning the lack of fear for LeBron, instead of the lack of respect displayed by Thomas? This BS masculinity thing is revolting. Smith needs to STFU, he’s a bottom feeder!
— Mrs. Norman (@Mrs_Norman09) November 24, 2021
Stephen saying players don’t fear LeBron was such a shit show of a take segment. JJ ate him up
— HubBub (@BagelShow) November 24, 2021
Love you JJ Redick you are correct LeBron is an athletic basketball and physical phenomenon. NBA players are fearful of LeBron. Stephen A JJ Redick played 15 years in the league. Stephen A. is so biased towards MJ and Kobe. Those is his players and you know MJ and him are boys
— CEDRIC FERGUS (@ferguscedric3) November 24, 2021
It’s actually scary to watch @jj_redick debate @stephenasmith on basketball. JJ makes it so clear how dumb SAS is. Just the way he looks at him make pointless remarks with 0 substance.@jj_redick will be snitched out from appearing on the show soon. https://t.co/KfSPca1sL6
— Albert ‘Al’ Osei (@al_osei) November 24, 2021
I may talk about this on the next Hardwood Nation Podcast but we starting here, saw the Stephen A/JJ Redick…Stephen A was actually correct, MJ was feared in a way that Bron has never been #facts
— The Hardwood Nation (@HardwoodNation) November 24, 2021
I’m just as confused as JJ on this take: https://t.co/C3fKq4vlrZ
— Christopher Cason (@C4DUNK) November 24, 2021
After listening to the whole Stephen A. – JJ Redick argument… I actually think Stephen A. was right on that one. JJ thought he was talking about fear as in what LeBron can do to you on the court, but Stephen A. was referring to the relationships between players.
— The Towel Boys NBA Podcast (@thetowelboys) November 24, 2021
Stephen A said about players fearing LeBron
“With LeBron you believe you can take him, you believe he can be had. Whether it’s because the teammates around him.”
So his first reason they don’t fear him is his teammates????????
What happened to SUPERTEAMS then?
— Uncovering the Truth (@shendy456) November 24, 2021
I know you aren’t a Stephen A guy but I watched the full segment this morning and I think he’s right. The league doesn’t fear LeBron the way it did the last 10+ years. Guys wouldn’t stand up to him before cause he was “that guy”. pic.twitter.com/N6dc3BqcrT
— Lil Uzi Bert (@BertoFrom18th) November 23, 2021
Stephen A’s take doesn’t make sense. He says no one fears LeBron but that they do fear him on the court? I’m confused
— A K E E M (@robinsson55) November 23, 2021
Where exactly is Stephen A. and Chris Broussard’s take on “players don’t fear LeBron” come from?
Someone that will demand half or more of your defensive schemes and he might even know your plays and stop it before it develops.
— Babatunde عبد العزيز (@MrTunbal) November 24, 2021
Stephen A gonna say nobody fears Lebron in the league and JJ comes on First Take and speaks nothing but facts about how he’s literally had teammates that said they fear him
— Steffen Davis (@SteffDavis_) November 23, 2021
Stephen A really got on ESPN yesterday and tried to make a argument to make Lebron look like less of a man, talm bout players don’t fear him, this shit crazy
— Kevo (@__Kevo35) November 24, 2021
Stephen a: people don’t fear Lebron like they feared Jordan.
Jj: everybody fears him he got 4 chips
SA: not talking about basketball talking about physically
Jj: nobody has ever challenged lebron (physically)
Stephan a: “well they couldn’t, how could they?”
— $auce Flock@ (@BMoreGlen8) November 24, 2021