JJ Redick and Tommy Alter hosted Hasan Minhaj (from Netflix's Patriot Act) and Malcolm Gladwell on their Ringer podcast this week. Redick was talking about how Nickeil Alexander-Walker has looked to him as a mentor with the Pelicans in a similar manner to which Redick looked up to Rashard Lewis as a young player with the Magic. Gladwell asked if that was an intuitive, obvious thing for most basketball players. Redick said that it is not. After that, Gladwell asked why that would be hard. Redick had this to say in response:
"There's just too much stuff going on. There's too many people in your ear," Redick said. "There's probably not enough time in the day for some guys. They've got Fortnite to go to. They've gotta worry about getting a fit off for pregame. This is an issue. I really believe this: I think there's more guys concerned with getting a pregame fit on Instagram than they are worrying about the win and loss of a basketball game. I stand by that statement. It's very concerning to me."
There are several ways people will take this. Some will laud Redick for speaking the truth about an epidemic plaguing the league. Others will point out that he's 35 years old now and has turned into a "get off my lawn" guy and say that he should've signed with a team that was surer to contend than this season's Pelicans. There will also be a derivative conversation about how it is ironic that a lot of people will read and respond to this observation ... on social media.
This isn't an entirely new angle for Redick. He talked to Tom Haberstroh in 2018 about players' phone addictions, and said that he's "been on teams where you literally don't talk to each other at dinner ... Just six guys on their phones."
Every time this discussion comes up, it's a good reminder that we should all be mindful about spending more time off our phones and being present in the real world.