JJ Redick was harassed so much he almost quit basketball

Keyshawn Shaahid

JJ Redick is now known as the well-loved sharpshooter and podcaster, but it was a different story in college. JJ wasn’t just bullied in college. He was harassed so much he almost quit basketball altogether.

If you don’t believe me, here is what Redick said himself.

When people quit, they don’t see a future in the sport or aren’t getting playing time at all. However, JJ couldn’t have been any more opposite his career. He certainly had a future in basketball and shined bright. Redick was one of the top players in basketball, so you might be wondering why the heck did JJ try to quit?

Maybe because at the away games, people brought derogatory signs, or at away games, fans would name-call him every time they had a chance. The most disgusting thing I saw was when fans said they were having relations with his sibling, who was 12 years old. The hate was getting so bad he had to start seeing a therapist, and you understand why.

Carolina Blitz

In retrospect, JJ Redick was one of the most polarizing stories because people honestly didn’t like this man. So let’s take a deep dive into why JJ Redick almost quit basketball.

JJ Redick coming out of high school was one of the top recruits in the country, went to Duke, and had a successful NBA career. Basketball fans know that he was one of the most hated players.

However, we wouldn’t have the JJ Redick we know if he had quit his sophomore year. Redick wasn’t instantly hated once he came to Duke as a freshman, but he began developing that year. In 2002, his freshman year averaged 15 points per game, 1.2 steals, two assists, and 2.5 a half rebounds, suitable for a freshman guard. He shot 40% from the 3, which is high for players pre-Steph Curry.

Redick was a gamer as a young player on one of the best teams in college basketball, and he began to feel himself just a bit. JJ earned that right because you have to beat them if you want to shut someone up. That’s in all sports. Redick would let you know if he drilled a three in your eye. He hit a shot in a game against Maryland and began trash-talking the Baltimore Ravens owner. This, to me, is where the hatred started and gave fans a reason to hate JJ.

Testudo Times

The reasons they hated JJ Redick

One reason was he played for Duke — Duke has been known as white boy school, all Duke has never had a problem finically along with bratty kids usually attending.

The next reason he was an elite player that could shoot the lights out. Steph Curry got a lot of this hate, but when your petite guy that isn’t physically imposing, that just angers players and fans. Basketball isn’t like football, where you can knock a guy out if he catches a pass or throws the ball. There are fouls when you play basketball, and it can get frustrating for opponents.

Last but not least, there was nothing special about his game that showed toughness. JJ wasn’t a gritty, rough player. He was more finesse, and that surely pissed fans off.

Redick played well as a sophomore and garnered more and more hate. In his sophomore season’s Maryland game, someone leaked his number, and fans heckled him 70–80 times a night. I’m a fan, but to be this obsessed with a college kid to call and text him negative things all night, you have to have something wrong with you. Even with these ridiculous acts, Reddick still took his team to the Final Four. They did lose to UConn in that Final Four matchup.

The Recovery

Coach K then had a meeting with JJ telling him, “We didn’t win a national championship because you weren’t worthy of being a champion.”Essentially Coach K was right because JJ wasn’t in shape, and he was living it up. He intially thought about quiting the sport but instead he got himself right.

The Seattle Times

The following season though, he got back in form and came back focused and dedicated to the game. Redick admitted that he thought long and hard about those comments and made sure no one had the opportunity to repeat those things. He said,

“Maybe some of it was like a feeling of betrayal. I know that sounds weird, but I probably did betray him my sophomore year. I betrayed the program my sophomore year.”

This quote shows how much Redick cared for the game and how much he cared about Duke. JJ turned up his game to player of the year levels averaging 21 and 27 points per game the next two years. I understand why fans didn’t like him, but the hate tactics were unwarranted nonetheless. I’m happy JJ learned from these experiences. I believe it made JJ a better player and ultimately a better person.

This is Keyshawn Shaahid. Thank you for reading!

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I'm a Freelance Writer, blogger, 2x Top NBA writer on Medium. Writer on Substack, Medium, Tumblr. Twitter: @keyshawnshaahid

Pittsburgh, PA

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