I never thought I’d be saying this, but the Orlando Magic need J.J. Redick. As the 2013 NBA trade deadline looms, Magic fans are making a push to keep J.J. – myself included.
When he was drafted by my beloved Magic as the 11th pick in the 2006 draft, I was horrified. How on earth could this arrogant Dukie’ end up playing for us? I was convinced he’d be a bust, wasting the Magic’s money and a spot on our roster. At first, it seemed like he was just that – a waste. His defense was sub-par and he wasn’t making shots.
When he left Duke, I think most people wrote him off as a spoiled kid who could make 3’s all day long… and he could. He set NCAA and ACC records for his offensive play. Being a Florida State fan, this didn’t please me too much. Although I did love the night the Seminoles beat Redick and the Blue Devils during one of their great seasons on March 1, 2006. At one time I think he was one of the most hated athletes in the country, because he was so good. IHateJJRedick.com was launched to celebrate fans’ disdain for this ‘egomaniac’. The site is so popular it has more than 4,300 Twitter followers!
During J.J’s rookie NBA season he didn’t do much on court. By his second year in the league, Stan Van Gundy appeared to be trying to hide him on the bench. That all changed in 2008. J.J. got better and defied his critics, many of them fans of the very team he was playing for.
Jonathan Clay “J.J.” Redick has become a bright spot on the Magic bench. Throughout the ‘Dwightmare’ debacle, our coaching woes, injuries, trades, whatever the obstacle J.J. has remained positive and has given 100% each and every time he hits the court. I’ve also noticed he’s a favorite among the middle-aged male crowd (my dad included).
He credits his ever-improving skills on the court to spending more time in the gym – and it shows. His minutes-per-game have doubled. He’s become a go-to guy when we need a win and he simply appears to love the game. I’m not saying he’s the next Kobe or LeBron, but he doesn’t claim to be. Every team needs and wants a guy like J.J. on its roster.
In the locker room he’s always been professional. I’ve seen athletes who act like they don’t want to be there. They don’t want cameras in their faces and they certainly don’t want to talk to you. As a competitor, J.J. doesn’t revel in a loss. He knows it is part of the job and looks ahead.
J.J. lifts up his team members and his coaches and he does plenty for the community. It’s clear with the work he does for his Foundation. He also loves his wife, Chelsea. In fact, he loves her so much he attended a Justin Bieber concert simply because she wanted to go (not a big deal for sports fans, but for us ladies, it earns him points!)
After seeing so many negative influences in the NBA and negativity surrounding the Orlando Magic, I hope management will realize they have a great player and Keep JJ through 3:00PM on February 21st, and let that trade deadline fly-by.