Sat Apr 24 07:03pm EDT
It has been four years since J.J. Redick last slipped on a Duke jersey, but the hatred for the former Blue Devils star apparently hasn't dissipated in ACC country.
When Redick stepped on the floor on Saturday during Game 3 of the Orlando Magic's first-round series against the Bobcats in Charlotte, North Carolina fans in the crowd greeted him with a chorus of boos. They continued to boo whenever he touched the ball or cheer if he committed a foul or a turnover.
"If you are a Duke fan in the state of North Carolina, you are in the minority," Redick told NBA.com. "Even when we're in a random road city like in Sacramento, some guy is going to yell, 'Let's go Tar Heels' like that is really going to fire me up. Mostly it's just 'Let's Go Tar Heels' or 'Duke Sucks' that's about 99 percent of the real brilliant stuff."
Redick's NBA career had largely been a disappointment the first three years, but this season he has emerged as a valuable reserve for an Orlando team with NBA title aspirations. In his fourth NBA season, the former Duke sharp shooter has showcased increased strength and improved passing and defense, averaging career highs in points (9.6) and minutes (22) and putting up starter-worthy numbers in Vince Carter's absence a few weeks ago.
To the delight of Tar Heels and Bobcats fans, Redick didn't have much impact in Orlando's 90-86 victory on Saturday, scoring four points on 2-for-4 shooting in 11 minutes. During one timeout, a fan waving a sign that read "Stop crying J.J. Go Heels!" appeared on the jumbotron, drawing a rousing ovation.
Of course, Redick should be happy the game was in Charlotte and in College Park. Chances are Maryland fans wouldn't mind one final chance to reprise their favorite chant from earlier this decade.