They’re talking sports going at it as hard as they can!
On today’s episode of “First Take,” Stephen A. Smith talked about how, unlike for example Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, LeBron James does not “instill fear” in opponents. He was speaking about players’ willingness to challenge them physically.
J.J. Redick, the former NBA sharpshooter who is newly signed to ESPN as a broadcaster, was having none of it.
Redick mentioned the time Kobe Bryant got “two-pieced” by Chris Childs, and said that the Bad Boys Pistons always used to get physical with Jordan.
Then came the fireworks.
“I don’t know whether to believe that you believe what you’re saying,” Redick said. “That’s crazy.”
“It’s not crazy, and you know better,” Smith countered.
Redick said that no one has ever challenged James physically like Isaiah Stewart sought to in the Pistons-Lakers kerfuffle on Sunday night. Smith mentioned the time Joakim Noah did (though he could not recall his name off the top of his head).
“If you watch the game, which you do …” Smith said.
“I played the game,” Redick interrupted. “I played against LeBron in the playoffs. I played against him for 15 years.”
It eventually turned into a circuitous conversation — as these segments tend to after each side has had his initial say — about whether people fear playing against LeBron James versus fear physical retaliation.
Things have been getting extra spicy on “First Take” of late — Jay Williams has also scrapped it up with Stephen A. this month. The show is more entertaining when the panelists do not defer.