Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard JJ Redick might be this city’s sporting version of The Most Interesting Man in the World. The former Duke star has had a very productive NBA career, and since he has taken his talents to Philadelphia he has launched a podcast and in some ways has become a brand all his own.
Part of Redick’s branding is attributable to his looks, and good for him. Work it. But Redick was working it recently in a photo shoot in New York for a clothing company and, well, let’s just say things got weird. From his podcast on The Ringer with Orlando Magic draft choice Mo Bamba:
So yesterday, I had a photo shoot…and at the end of the shoot they had set up a driver for me. So we come downstairs out of the apartment where we were shooting at in Chelsea, and I knock on the door, and the guy kind of leans out and he’s like “are you JJ Redick” and I’m like “yeah.” So…I’m like “hey, I’ve gotta put my bag…in the back.”
We’re OK so far. Let’s just keep the tape rolling and see where this goes:
As I’m like leaning in to put my bag in there and Kylee (my sister-in-law) and my wife (Kylee’s twin is my wife) the three of us were like in the back, and so I put my stuff in the back, Kylee put her stuff in the back, and I was like, “it smells kind of weird.” It wasn’t like a bad smell, like it didn’t smell like dog food or dog shit, it was just like a weird smell, and at the time I didn’t think anything of it.
Photo Credit: Eric Hartline, USA TODAY
We’re still OK…but very soon this story is going to go sideways:
So, we get in the car…we’re on the corner of Murray and Broadway…and Kylee taps me on the shoulder, I turn around, and she’s like pale as a ghost and she’s like “there’s a person in the back…..”
So I glance over my shoulder, and there’s like a blanket, like a big blanket, and a cage or a box, I’m not really sure because the blanket was covering it, and then there’s like, clearly something underneath the blanket, at this point it hadn’t moved yet, and so Kylee is like “sir, can you please pull over….”
Ruh-roh. Well this is mighty disconcerting but you know us here at Crossing Broad, we can’t stop now, no matter what our better angels might want us to do:
We jumped out of the car immediately. Chelsea just kinda doesn’t know what’s going on…and I’m like—as I was getting in the car I noticed the blanket was moving—“Sir, you have something in the trunk in your car. Do you know what that is? Is there something in the trunk of your car?” And he’s like, “No, I don’t have anything back here.” And I say, “Well, can I get my stuff out?” So he pops the trunk and I, like, kinda—as fast as I can, ‘cause it’s New York City, you don’t know, like, I’ve seen this blanket move, I don’t know what this is, is it a python? Is it a robber? I don’t know.
Redick just signed a one-year deal that will pay him something in the range of $13 million for the coming season. He doesn’t need to be involved with anything like this at any level. We should give him a little credit for continuing to pay attention and not just bailing out at the first sign of human tragedy:
And so he lifts the blanket up, but like towards the window, so that the blanket is facing up, so we couldn’t see cause we were on the sidewalk, perpendicular to the car, not behind the car. And he’s like “No, there’s nothing in here. There’s nothing in here.” And he closes the blanket back, and then he closes the trunk.
And as he’s like walking around to the front seat, a head pops up.
There’s a back of a female’s head. She’s—blonde hair, there’s a ponytail, and based on the size of the box or cage that this person is in, it’s like either, like a very small human, or a child. And I’m like—”we all saw it, right?”
Notice I said “a little credit.” Why not “full credit?” Unfortunately, it does seem that Redick’s self-interest ultimately ruled the day:
So he drives off, and then Kylee, now at this point, is like, “Are you sure? Was that a dog? Was that a dog with a very furry tail?”
And she’s like, “No. The reason I said there was a person is because I saw movement in my peripheral—out of my right eye. So I turned around, and the blanket was moving. So when I looked back, like half of a human face came out of the blanket. I saw a woman’s eyes, woman’s face, woman’s blonde hair.”
So we get in a cab…first I called the car agency…then we called the police, and we haven’t heard back from the police. The car agency wrote an email saying that they’ve suspended the driver because we cancelled the ride because there was someone in his front seat, which is not what we said, I was very explicit that he was harboring some sort of female under a blanket in a cage or box in his trunk.
Hm. That’s not exactly superhero behavior, but then as we have already established, Redick has a lot to live for and a lot to lose.
Photo Credit: Jason Vinlove, USA TODAY
Funny thing about the passage of time, even short periods of time: They give you the chance to reflect and to realize that there may be more at stake in a given moment:
So, possible sort of scenarios here: I think best-case for everyone involved is that maybe his sister or his cousin, or maybe a girlfriend or wife needed a ride across town and they didn’t want to pay for an Uber or taxi. That’s probably best-case scenario. And then from there you can go darker. This is not funny, but, like, child abduction, human trafficking. Like, Chelsea’s dead serious texting me today and she’s like, “I’m calling the FBI tip line and I’m opening a claim. This is serious.” And I don’t know what to make of it. It definitely was not a dog. I will say that. It was a human being in the back seat of his car, under a blanket in some sort of box or cage. That’s my story.
I’m definitely rooting for the “cheap ride across town” option here, but because I have seen “Pulp Fiction,” I’m not betting on that outcome.
And the best I can give Redick for citizenship this week is a gentlemen’s C. He didn’t have to do any medal of honor stuff, but letting the car drive away without a fight was probably not his finest hour.