This is a touchy subject because we are talking about the vintage stars who paved the way for the current generation.
But this is also about a certified Hall of Famer telling off a role player.
This is how I see Jerry West against the words of JJ Redick.
In a way, it's safe to say that Kevin Durant accomplished more things than Charles Barkley. Obviously, Durant won a title. Winning the title gave Durant the opportunity to win the Finals MVP award. However, Durant just can't escape the fact that he won a title with an elite backup.
It's like when you play in the PBA. Even if a team has the likes of Bobby Parks, Norman Black, Billy Ray Bates, Sean Chambers, Lamont Strothers, and Justin Brownlee, the most important PBA championship are played with no imports involved.
This is the case with KD as he's basically the import of the Golden State Warriors during their championship run. This is why Brooklyn should be his saving grace - to win one as the "bus driver" Barkley has been mentioning. Of course, nowadays it's probably safe to say that Durant would have to be the bus driver since he's a superstar in his thirties early in his four-year contract.
But the thing about Durant and Barkley is that they played in almost identical eras. Steals and blocks are recorded at this point with the three-point line also in effect.
The same opportunities are unavailable during West and Bob Cousy's time.
I think this is the first time I cringe on a JJ Redick thought because when you talk about eras, you talk about the political situation.
In the PBA, it's easy to forget about the Great Taste and Tanduay almost grand slams because when we say big-time rivalries, we tend to go from the Toyota versus Crispa one... and whatever is the great ax to grind in the 90s.
Yes, there are plumbers and firemen in that era but aside from the league entering its baby stages, they also have to contend with wars and racial discrimination. This is a tough subject that I wouldn't delve into. With that said, conditioning is going to be an issue. Shoes aren't tailor-made for basketball athletes and there were no nutritionists, free throw doctors, and even treadmills that an athlete could just go train on.
Also, how can a person belittle the accomplishments of Cousy if he's a former MVP, a 6-time champion, a ten-time All-NBA First Teamer, and a 13-time all-star?
How can someone take down the words of Jerry West - a one-time MVP, a one-time Finals MVP, a 12-time All-NBA player (ten of which are First Team citations), and whose pose paved the way for the NBA logo?
Ultimately, if a guy like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bob Pettit, Paul Arizin, Oscar Robertson, John Havlicek, Nate Thurmond, George Mikan, Dolph Schayes, and Elvin Hayes would say this, then I guess there will be a conversation between old men. However, aside from the talent issue, half of the players I enumerated are no longer with us right now.
It's hard to say if Cousy is a bus driver because, despite his MVP award, Boston played a team game with Russell as the main man. Still, in some ways, West had a better "bus driver" situation because he shared boss duties with Baylor at the start of his run and ended with Chamberlain as his co-equal. West also had a hand in the current game as he won eight championships from 1980 to 2017 as an executive. West was with the Lakers when they recruited Magic Johnson and James Worthy and was with the Golden State Warriors when they won with Kevin Durant.
Yes, Jerry West is the perfect 84-year-old man to question a player's thoughts about his era.
I mean, what can Redick do?
Will JJ fight with an old man?
But there's an even bigger issue. I caught his interview with Jalen Brunson. He asked the former PBA import's son if he thinks that Redick is part of the media to which the current Knick said no.
I like Redick because he is the voice of the players that are sadly lost in the current basketball media. It sucks that guys like Skip Bayless concentrate on LeBron James' things rather than promoting the small-market teams. Even with Bird versus Magic, the league gained a worldwide following because stars are scattered. I would hate it if people forced Reggie Miller to play elsewhere because he is "wasting his talents" the way they are forcing Bradley Beal to leave Washington. Or they destroyed the star status of Russell Westbrook even if Big O almost had the same career up until he won a title with Lew Alcindor as the main man in Milwaukee.
Redick needs to protect the players of his era as well as in the other eras. Redick is working on multiple platforms so his window as a pro-player guy heavily diminishes by the minute. It will destroy his credibility if he picks a fight with the old guys because the reason why he gets love in the first place is that he understands the nuances of a player that media people can't.
Only superstars of Cousy and West's caliber can rise up from the challenge of time and opportunity.
I guess the other question is what if the talents of Cousy and West, given all the opportunities to shine, would fare in the current NBA setup?
Maybe in this situation, I will give it more to The Houdini of the Hardwood than to Mr. Clutch. Cousy has the same archetype as that of John Stockton or Steve Nash or Jason Kidd or Gary Payton or Ricky Rubio as Jerry West who fits the mold of a Klay Thompson or Jimmy Butler or Gordon Hayward or Manu Ginobili or hell...
... JJ Redick.