Q&A: J.J. Redick on the past, present, and future
Clippers star talks about being a star, missing the attention, life with a kiddo and digital bibles.
J.J. Redick has not had much peace in his NBA life. He entered the league as a college icon, the most hated Duke player of all time (and that's saying something). He struggled to get playing time early in his career with the Magic, especially after Stan Van Gundy took over. There was talk that he might not make it, that he was upset with his playing time, that he wanted a trade.
But instead, Redick decided to go all-in. He committed himself to defense, earned his playing time, and eventually became one of the most feared weapons on an Orlando team that was legitimately elite for about three seasons (2009-11).
Now Redick's the starting shooting guard for the Clippers. He never really wanted to leave Orlando, he had made his home there, but with the team rebuilding, he didn't fit in the long-term plans. And Redick might be the key to the Clippers' chances at making a run this season.
Redick sat down with CBSSports.com recently to talk about life in the early days, about whether he's a star, and no, he doesn't read his own shot charts.
Matt Moore: So you deal with the end of the Dwight era in Orlando, and then you're on the trade block, and then you're in Milwaukee. You sign with the Clippers, new team, new situation ... and then last year the Sterling situation blows up. Are things a little bit less chaotic for you now?
J.J. Redick: Well, I have a newborn at home ... (laughs) I was reflecting the other day about all the changes in just the last, basically two years. I guess it's the nature of the business. It seems like a lot has gone on, and then my wife and I decided to have children. That obviously adds to the list of priorities. It's been better this year for sure. I think being comfortable with everyone on the team, and being comfortable with [coach] Doc [Rivers]. Not being hurt, that's helped.
MM: My kid never slept as a baby. Are you getting any sleep at home?
JR: He's sleeping, thankfully. We're actually in the process of doing the sleep training right now. He's 16 weeks old. We gave him four months, and we're starting it now. It's a process.
MM: My wife hated Cry-It-Out, but it's the only way I could find for her to get any rest at all.
JR: Oh, she hates it. But we're doing it. He's been great, it's a great experience.
MM: I read that you've made your home in Austin. That's a great town. How did you decide to live there?
JR: On my honeymoon in 2010, I signed with the Bulls. We had a week at the time, it wasn't two days, it was a week where Orlando could match. We had a week where it was like "Where are we going to live?" Orlando ended up matching, but then with the lockout, we were trying to find a home base. We knew no one in Austin, we just fell in love with the place and built a house there.
MM: You said your rookie season that you missed the attention ...
JR: I said that?!
MM: You did! (He did.)
JR: I think I'm just at a maturity level where I don't pay attention to any of that. Man ... (shakes his head) that's a young attitude. I think when you get older, and you realize what's important in life. For me, I enjoy my job; I feel very fortunate I get to do this. I'm a husband and a dad. Those are my priorities. Anything that comes along with it, I don't really value. I appreciate fan support and everything, but my priorities are my wife, my family, and my kid.
MM: Do you consider yourself a star now?
JR: No. I get asked 'Do you get noticed when you go places?' I guess I do, but I just try and take everything in stride, honestly. Maybe I didn't do that when I was 22 or 23 and first in the NBA, but I don't consider myself a star by any stretch.
MM: You also said once that athletes aren't special, that they're just normal people.
JR: We're normal people in the sense that we have distractions, we have problems off the court. Something doesn't go right at home, or you get in a slump at work, and you start feeling that stress, that pressure. We have bad days at work. I have a 2-for-10 shooting game, and I go to dinner after the game, I'm probably not going to be in as good of a mood.
MM: You mentioned that you were looking back on the last two years. You've talked before about how you looked at your situation in Orlando and committed to making it work with SVG. You're a pretty self-reflective guy, which is rare for a shooter, since the whole thing is "don't think."
JR: I'm my own worst enemy I guess in that sense. I play better when I don't overthink things. But unfortunately I'm a thinker. I think that's what's allowed me to stick in the league. I'm not a blamer, I'm a blamer on myself. I point the finger at myself. My first year was with Brian Hill, my second year was with Stan, and I played less than I did my rookie year.
It took me a couple months that second season, but I got to the point where I was like "We're a 50-win team, we're going to be a top three or four seed in the East, Stan's a great coach ... it's probably something I'm doing.' There was a refocus after that second year. And at the end of that third year was really when my career trajectory changed, and then that playoff run we made in '09 [to the NBA Finals] really gave me some confidence. I was able to start some games that year, and that ran into my fourth year, which was my contract year.
MM: Have you ever looked at your own shot chart?
JR: I saw one, right when I got traded. Kirk Goldsberry (I'm friends with Zach) published it and I saw it. But that's it.
MM: See, and I can't get this. Why would you not want to know how you shoot from one area or another? I would obsess over those.
JR: I don't obsess over percentages. I guess the media does to a degree. I got off to a bad start this year, and got asked about it every day. I just figured at some point I would make some shots. I tend to believe things will even out in the end.
MM: Last question: I know how committed to your faith you are. Do you carry a physical bible with you or have you switched to the app?
I used to carry a physical book. I do it on my iPad now. iPad's great, because you can actually highlight and make notes on it.
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