Imagine if the all-time Duke basketball scorer had cowered to the hate and quit the game as a Blue Devil.
JJ Redick had an amazing Duke basketball career. He was loved by every fan who came out to Cameron Indoor Stadium and those who supported the Brotherhood at home. This affection, however, wasn’t reciprocated by opposing fans. He was one of the most hated college basketball players ever, and that took a toll, pushing him to the point of almost giving up the sport altogether.
The 35-year-old, a 14-year pro now in his first season with the New Orleans Pelicans, recently made an appearance on the Pardon My Take podcast and discussed the hardships he went through at Duke:
“I wanted to quit my sophomore year…I really struggled those first two years. It was hard for me.”
When it comes to college sports, the intensity of fans is on a whole different level than professional sports. Redick had to learn that the hard way, as fans would say hateful things about him and even his family. One of the most beneficial things during this time, according to Redick, was his therapist:
“I spent like 3 years at Duke seeing a therapist. And it was the best thing for me.”
Of course, Redick understands that the hate wasn’t all uncalled for. When looking back on his antics, he acknowledges that he made some poor choices during his college days:
“You see something that I did, like the head bobbing, talking [expletive] to the Baltimore Ravens owner when we were kicking their ass in Maryland. It’s like, why was I doing those things? They’re cringe-worthy.”
It’s understandable why Redick was hated so much: he was simply too good. During his four-year tenure at Duke, he averaged 19.9 points per game. That includes one of the greatest individual seasons in program history, which was his senior year. During that season, he averaged 26.8 points and was a cold-blooded killer whenever he stepped on the court. His jersey remains retired alongside other Duke legends like Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, and Grant Hill.
Luckily, Redick was able to overcome the adversity he faced. If he wasn’t able to, then we wouldn’t have been able to witness one of the greatest Blue Devils ever.
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