Gelf Magazine - Looking over the overlooked

Sports

February 12, 2005

Redick's Rhymes

The bard of Durham.

Carl Bialik

On its "College Gameday" program, ESPN just ran a piece on Duke's J.J. Redick, one of the nation's best players and probably its most hated. The segment closely followed a Sports Illustrated profile (subscription required) of Redick from two weeks ago. No big surprise there. Analyzing why Redick is such a target for opposing fans: Check. Stories of Redick getting angry messages on his cellphone: Check. ESPN even followed, almost word for word, an anecdote about Maryland fans' unusual persistence in phoning him.

But even for hard-core Redick watchers, there was some new juice from ESPN: a shot of Redick, sitting on a chair on a basketball court, reading from his book of poetry. The SI article ended with an extended quote from one of his items that was one of the most remarkable things we've seen in a college-hoops article. Here's a sample:

My life story is read in poetic stages
I was once weak-minded, now I'm courageous
The cause and effect of a thousand actions
The mathematical breakdown of microfractions
It's difficult to fathom the coming of the rapture
What if I awoke in an empty pasture?

On ESPN, Redick read some new verses. My VCR wasn't running (yet another reason I need DVR), but here's what I was able to jot down:

I asked the lord, what am I to do?
He said, son, I made the sky blue
I was the inspiration for Martin Luther King
I'm the reason Ray Charles could sing
I've provided inspiration to others through and through
And son, I'll do the same for you

I can't wait to see what Maryland fans do with the new material tonight.

Carl Bialik

Carl Bialik, a co-founder of Gelf, is a writer for FiveThirtyEight.







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Article by Carl Bialik

Carl Bialik, a co-founder of Gelf, is a writer for FiveThirtyEight.

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