Basketball Hall of Famer slams JJ Redick over ‘idiotic’ Larry Bird take

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

The NBA All-Star Game is a wrap and the final quarter of the regular season is set to tip off Thursday but some things never change.

Reigniting a debate about the Old-School versus New School, former Atlanta Hawks legend and Hall of Fame forward Dominique Wilkins took ESPN analyst JJ Redick to task over comments about Larry Bird’s three-point shooting when compared to contemporary players like Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry.

Bird is widely considered to be one of the best all-around shooters in NBA history, a point Redick did not dispute, but challenged Bird’s merits beyond the arc on the issue of volume.

Here’s everything you need to know about the debate.

How did the debate start?

Follow every game: Latest NBA Scores and Schedules

During a Feb. 15 episode of ‘First Take,’ Redick and Chris Russo were comparing Bird’s numbers to Curry’s.

‘It’s just math,’ Redick said. ‘It’s attempts, it’s makes and it’s percentage. And there’s no way you could ever argue Larry Bird is a top three-point shooter of all-time. You can’t make that argument. He’s one of the best shooters ever.

‘There’s plenty of people that have shot more, made more and — guess what — made more at a higher percentage than Larry Bird from three. I’m not saying Larry Bird is not one of the greatest shooters ever. He’s not one of the greatest three-point shooters ever. You cannot make that argument.’

When Russo raised an argument that play in the 1980s had more ‘physicality,’ Redick responded: ‘Can we get off this physicality thing? Come on, man.’

How did Dominique Wilkins respond?

In an appearance Tuesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio, Wilkins didn’t hold back when asked about Redick’s comments.

“First of all, Redick don’t know what the hell he’s talking about,’ Wilkins said. ‘I’m like, what basketball was you watching? To say something as idiotic as that is ridiculous. The physicality that was a part of the league. Hey, look, when you you can put your hand on a guy’s hip and make him go a certain way, and you can put your elbow in his chest a guy to slow him up  — there’s not that many guys that can deal with that type of pressure. For JJ Redick, who played this game, I’m very disappointed that he said something so stupid.

‘This is the thing I hate the most: we had our time, it was a great time. It’s their time now. But don’t crap on us to prove your point,’ Wilkins continued. ‘It doesn’t make sense and it’s not valid. … I just don’t like the disrespect. To say that about Larry Bird — less physicality — is (Redick) stupid? It’s just a stupid comment to make. It’s got nothing to do with Steph Curry or Larry, it’s the content. He should know better than that.’

What were Larry Bird’s stats from three-point range when compared to contemporary players?

For his career, Bird averaged 0.7 three-point baskets per game, on an average of 1.9 attempts per game and shot 37.6% beyond the arc. Bird’s career high in three-point conversions is 1.3 per game (in 1987-88 and 1990-91) and his career high in attempts is 3.3 (in 1990-91).

The interesting thing to note is that Bird’s career fell during a liminal stage in the NBA, as the three-point shot became more prominent. For example, Bird actually led the NBA in three-point makes in the 1986-87 season with 90 and he ranked fifth in attempts with 225. By the 1990-91 season, Bird ranked 14th in the NBA with 77 threes, but that season’s leader, Vernon Maxwell, made 172 such shots; the league leader in three-point attempts that season, Michael Adams, attempted 564 three pointers.

By comparison, Curry’s career high in three-point shots (402) and attempts (886) came in 2015-16. The 402 conversions are the current NBA single-season record.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY