JJ Redick didn’t need—as he places it—a “time period paper” hanging over his head.
In the summertime of 2015 Redick, the No. 11 choose from the 2006 NBA Draft and then one of many NBA’s premier sharpshooters, was approached by then-Yahoo reporter Adrian Wojnarowski about presumably writing for his new NBA website “The Vertical.” Redick, in the middle of his memorable tenure with the Clippers, didn’t suppose he would have time to put in writing first-person essays whereas additionally balancing his taking part in profession and private life. In October of that yr, Wojnarowski approached him once more, this time with the concept of internet hosting a podcast.
“I didn’t know something in regards to the podcast business,” Redick informed SI over the cellphone earlier this month. “My spouse really helpful Serial, which was in the course of season one on the time. I used to be like, ‘This doesn’t look like one thing I might do.’”
After discussing the concept together with his agent, Redick finally determined to offer podcasting a go, beginning with a weekly present in February 2016, largely centered round interviews with NBA gamers and coaches. After 40 episodes (and a second little one together with his spouse), Redick was feeling burnt out and put his podcast profession on transient maintain. The following summer season, Redick met Tommy Alter—a superproducer whose credit embrace The Store on HBO in addition to the favored speak present Desus & Mero—who prompt he host a podcast for The Ringer.
Redick hosted a present for 3 seasons with the sports activities and popular culture web site, two by himself and the third with Alter. In August 2020, they determined to spin off the present into their very own manufacturing firm, partly so Redick might personal his content material. Since then, Redick and Alter have been internet hosting The Old Man and the Three for ThreeFourTwo Productions. (Redick introduced his retirement from the NBA in 2021.)
“I’m glad we did it, it’s been a ton of enjoyable,” Redick says. “I’m blown away by the individuals who pay attention to each episode, I’m so grateful for them. It’s been actually rewarding to have the ability to have these conversations I get pleasure from doing and construct an viewers.”
Redick says now he would “go loopy” with out his weekly pod, which has given him one thing to do since hanging up his jumper for good earlier than this season. In his dialog with SI, Redick mentioned if his groups ever pushed again on his podcast whereas he performed, the connection between athletes and the media, and extra.
Sports activities Illustrated: I’m genuinely jealous of each episode, as a result of I do know no NBA participant can be as comfy with me in an interview setting. One thing I’ve at all times questioned—you talked about you began this present whereas attempting to win a championship. Did you ever get any pushback? Have been groups or coaches ever like, what are you doing? Why now?
JJ Redick: By no means. Didn’t get any pushback from the Clippers, 76ers, or Pelicans. In reality, we had on Swin Money, entrance workplace with the Pelicans. I had on [Clippers owner] Steve Ballmer. I had on [Clippers president] Lawrence Frank. I had on Elton Model whereas he was the GM of the Sixers, like actually no pushback. It is humorous as a result of, you recognize, there’s executives, homeowners within the NBA who will attain out to me after sure episodes, “Hey, cherished listening to this, blah, blah, blah.” So there’s individuals even at that stage who hearken to the podcast.
I stated on my very first episode, I would not do that if I felt prefer it was distracting me or taking away from my time as a participant. I imply, I believe anyone—and this is the reason I believe there was no pushback—anyone who’s been round me throughout my profession knew how critically I took basketball. It was at all times my first precedence. And there was nothing that was going to cease me from getting my work accomplished. And it wasn’t like I used to be recording a podcast the day of a recreation as a substitute of taking my pregame nap or was dashing to do a podcast and not getting my restoration. After follow, I at all times took care of my basketball stuff first. And that is why there wasn’t any pushback. The groups knew that. They knew how I approached it.
SI: Forgive me if this query is slightly cliché, however I’d love to listen to your ideas. There’s clearly a stage of consolation individuals have in your podcast. What do you make of the trendy panorama of the connection between gamers and the media? Do you suppose your podcast is filling a niche?
Redick: I do not know that my podcast fills a niche. I’d say the change that occurred throughout my profession is that gamers need extra management over the narrative round their profession, their superstar, their philanthropy. They only need extra management of their story. And there is most likely inherently a stage of mistrust at instances between gamers within the media. However once more, I stated this so many instances throughout my profession, the media—there’s at all times unhealthy actors in something. The media is doing their job. The media is filling a niche and a necessity and a job. And it is part of what makes our recreation so nice and part of what makes our recreation so well-liked. We have a tendency to focus on unhealthy actors or unhealthy relationships amongst sure gamers and sure members of the media. However by and massive, I believe the synergy and the coexisting is working.
My podcast, I take a look at it form of as its personal form of entity, as a result of it is not conventional media, however it supplies content material for conventional media. Tommy stated it greatest once we first began doing it collectively, like, we’re Switzerland, we’re impartial. I really feel uncomfortable typically when one thing I say turns into some clickbait headline that will get aggregated. It is not our intent ever in doing an episode. We attempt to humanize the story round what makes this participant or this govt or this golfer, whoever it could be. We attempt to humanize and say what’s it that’s distinctive and unbelievable in regards to the story of their expertise. So in the end, sure, it is a conversational podcast, however in a means we’re telling this particular person’s story.
SI: Understanding that you just had been type of having success doing this podcast, did that make it nearly simpler to retire for you? Or are the 2 not associated in any respect?
Redick: Nobody’s ever requested me that earlier than! And the reply is not any. [Laughs] And once more, I believe the rationale I do not get requested that by associates or individuals within the league, is as a result of—I hope it confirmed—however I cherished taking part in. That was my old flame of my life. And it is one thing that I did for 30 years. Basketball turned so ingrained in my identification and my ego construction, and it introduced me a lot pleasure. It introduced me wonderful friendships. It allowed me to journey the world and be uncovered to various things. It was such a driving power of my life. It was so onerous to surrender.
However you recognize, I by no means thought “I bought this podcast to fall again on.” I by no means thought that. It was like, do I need to quit this factor that I’ve cherished doing for thus lengthy? And what are the results if I do give it up? And what are the results if I proceed to strive and play and proceed to attempt to pursue a championship? That was the choice, and it wasn’t something to do with a podcast.
SI: Now you’re getting into this post-playing section of your life. Is that this an area you see your self being in for a very long time? You talked about basketball was the largest a part of your life for 30 years, how do you make that transition into one thing else? Is that this the lane you need to occupy or do you see your self doing one thing else?
Redick: It is a query I’ve requested myself for seven years now since I turned 30 and Knox was born. You begin realizing that the tip goes to return and you get within the second half of your profession, and you begin fascinated by, what’s it I need to do? How do I need to spend my time? What different work do I need to pursue? And I will be fully frank, my mindset—and it was this manner as a participant taking a look at retirement and it’s six months into retirement—I am open and I need to simply do issues that I get pleasure from.
And I’m going again to the factor I stated originally, the actually rewarding factor with the podcast has been constructing an viewers, constructing a group and constructing a bunch of people who pay attention and are in on the jokes. And also you’re constructing one thing that individuals are responding to. In order that to me has been actually enjoyable.
I believe as an athlete, that is only a normal form of mind-set, we might by no means have the ability to change what basketball did for us. And by that I imply, will I have the ability to discover one thing that gives the identical stage of efficiency anxiousness? Will I have the ability to discover one thing that gives the identical aggressive outlet at that prime of a stage? Will I have the ability to discover one thing that gives the sense of camaraderie and collaboration being on a workforce supplied? I do not know. However I am actually going to seek for these issues. For the subsequent, no matter, 30 years. Hopefully, I’ve a protracted, very long time to reside. However that is in the end what I believe any ex athlete is in search of, after they retire. they’re in search of one thing that gives that feeling you get out of competitors, and strolling again right into a locker room after an enormous street win and celebrating. So I do not know if the podcast goes to offer that, however I actually get pleasure from doing it.
Look, I used to be a basketball participant. And as a basketball participant, you are at all times put in a field. As a basketball participant, you are at all times put in a field when it comes to your talent set. And I am simply not going to permit anybody to do this in retirement for me. I am open. And I believe no matter it’s that I find yourself pursuing long run—and it could be in spurts. It could be a five-year run right here, a five-year run there. I do not know. However I am open to something.
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