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When engaging in discourse about who the greatest players in the history of basketball are, a common tactic used by proponents of players of the sport's more modern eras is to dismiss previous generations by stating that they played against inferior and unathletic competition. In the context of the NBA, saying that the league's greats of yesteryear competed against mere laymen -- janitors, traffic cops, mailmen and the like -- has become a quick go-to argument.

During a recent appearance on "First Take," recently retired NBA player J.J. Redick went back to that well during a debate on Chris Paul. When Chris "Mad Dog" Russo said that the Phoenix Suns guard was "not Bob Cousy" when it came to the NBA's great point guards, Reddick responded by stating that the Boston Celtics legend "was being guarded by plumbers and firemen" and played in an era where there were "eight teams in the NBA and you had to win two playoff series".

Cousy has finally gotten his opportunity to respond. Speaking on SiriusXM NBA Radio, the 93-year-old Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer issued a scathing takedown of Redick's pejorative argument:

"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. When you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won't do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced," Cousy said, referencing NBA legends like Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, the latter of whom he called the best small forward in NBA history. "I guess he must have fought fires as well."

Cousy went on to name many of his contemporaries -- Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West -- before finishing by turning Redick's argument back on him.

"We must have had the best firemen and plumbers on the planet at the time," he said. "And I was very proud to play with all of them."

Cousy was a core member of the Celtics' early NBA dynasty, winning six NBA championships and league MVP honors in 1957. He was named to the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team just last year.