JJ Redick has been a journeyman in the NBA. Drafted in 2006 by the Orlando Magic as the 11th pick, he had a tough beginning in the NBA. Redick was a highly touted collegiate prospect coming out of Duke, being named the national college player of the year in 2006. He has had quite a few career moments, but none more special than guarding Kobe Bryant in the 2009 NBA Finals.
His first few years in the Magic saw him relegated to an off-the-bench role. Redick began getting more minutes in the 2008-09 NBA season, with the subsequent Playoffs allowing him to start for the Magic. The injury to starter Courtney Lee in the first round against the 76ers led to him starting in the second round, the Eastern Conference Finals, and the NBA Finals, as the Magic faced off against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.
Since then, Redick departed the Magic and went on to play for the Milwaukee Bucks, the ‘Lob City’ LA Clippers, the Philadelphia 76ers, and now the New Orleans Pelicans. No doubt that the highlight of Redick’s career came when he went toe-to-toe with Kobe Bryant and the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Redick faced off with Kobe Bryant
Redick spoke about the 2009 Playoffs run on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.
“That Playoff run, I was finding a rotation role, but there were nights where I got those DNP Coaches decisions. In that Playoff run, Courtney Lee broke his face, in Game 5 against Philly in the first round, so I started Game 6, which was a closeout game in Philly on the road. I hit five 3s, played really well. Then I played the whole Boston series, I guarded Ray Allen the whole series. We beat Cleveland, and I got to play against Kobe in the Finals.”
On guarding the ‘Black Mamba’ in the Finals Redick said, “We all have Kobe stories, and I have more personal ones. When I’m 80, I’m going to tell my grandparents I guarded Kobe Bryant. And yes, he got the best of me, but I had some stops.”
Redick and the Orlando Magic lost to the Lakers in the Finals in 5 games, with Kobe Bryant picking up his fourth NBA Championship.
What is your favorite ‘Kobe vs.’ story? Was he the hardest player to guard when he got going?