Duke basketball legend J.J. Redick unveils secrets to longevity

Duke basketball legend J.J. Redick (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Duke basketball legend J.J. Redick (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

The oldest Duke basketball alum still kicking in the NBA discussed the benefits of beets, books, and more.

As a Duke basketball freshman and sophomore nearly 20 years ago, J.J. Redick regularly ate fast food and had love handles to show for his bad habit. Had the shooting guard with pinpoint 3-point accuracy not cleaned up his diet and embraced exercise, chances are he wouldn’t have made a name for himself at all in the NBA — certainly not for 14 seasons (and counting).

At age 35 — playing alongside four other former Duke basketball players in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jahlil Okafor, and Frank Jackson — Redick is currently averaging more points (15.2) and minutes (27.4) in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans than in any of his first six campaigns in the league.

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Last year with the Philadelphia 76ers, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound Roanoke, Va., native set a record by becoming the oldest player to ever set a career-high season scoring average (18.1).

So what are Redick’s secrets for staying in shape, keeping in style, and maintaining his sanity on the road? Well, in a sitdown with GQ Sports, Duke basketball’s all-time career scoring leader (2,769) listed 10 of the ingredients to his personal fountain of youth, ranging from pajamas that help him sleep more comfortably to a “techie thing” that informs the average passerby to, in his words, “&@%# off!”

Here’s the full list of Redick’s essentials, including snippets of the amateur comedian’s thoughts on each:

  • Brunello Cucinelli blazer: “When you go to a lot of 3-star Michelin places, a lot of times there are jackets required — not that I dine in 3-star Michelin places all the time.”
  • Ah-So wine bottle opener: “I have about a 97 percent success rate so far with this…If you drink anything older than 10 years, you should really be using one.”
  • Books: “I collect coffee table books…I just love books. And I’m always reading. I always travel with at least one book…I got to have a physical book.”
  • White Common Projects: “I don’t necessarily splurge on a lot of things in my life, but I always have two pairs of white Common Projects. One pair, crispy clean, in case I need it for an event…And then I have my second pair, which I’m wearing right now, and they get a little dirtier.”
  • Concentrated beet crystals: “During the season, I eat beets twice a day. I don’t mean one or two beets. I literally mean give me a bowl of beets…Beets taste terrible…But I genuinely believe in the science behind it and also believe in the results I’ve gotten from eating a lot of beets.”
  • Eucalyptus deodorant: “I don’t like to smell like something, so eucalyptus has that really subtle smell. And I also have sensitive skin — it’s the Irish in me.”
  • Foam roller: “I foam-roll like two or three times a day…When my back gets tight, let’s say after a flight or after carrying my 3-year-old around all day, I’ll foam-roll my back, and that feels amazing.”
  • AirPods: “These have sort of been like a game-changer for me. I wear these almost every day on the subway. Also, it tells people…not to bother me.”
  • White T-shirt: “I have a basic uniform: black jeans, Common Projects, and a white T…I dry clean my white T’s.”
  • Sleepy Jones pajamas: “They’re incredibly comfortable…I feel like this is very 1960’s, like, old man pajamas. There’s something that is very cool to me about that.”
  • Orlebar Brown swim trunks: “They double as a regular pair of Bermuda shorts…I can sort of wear these all day…yes, that’s disgusting grooming-wise.”

So there’s a start for those Duke basketball fans who are also J.J.-wannabes. And here’s a summary from Redick on why his career is showing no signs of slowing down:

“I started thinking more about recovery, performance, and nutrition probably by year four or five (in the NBA). The older I’ve gotten…it’s really all I think about. I’m trying to maximize my career for as long as I can.”

The 20-30 Pelicans host the 42-7 Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. (TNT) as they work to keep intact Redick’s streak of appearing in the playoffs every year he’s been in the league.

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