During the NBA’s 2020 hiatus, Pelicans.com will feature stories and anecdotes about the backgrounds of New Orleans players, with a goal of helping you get to know the 17 players on the team’s roster a bit better. As we wait for basketball to return, the series will include details on some of the lesser-discussed, unique aspects of player backgrounds, as well as an “Off the Court” series of Q&A’s with Pelicans. We plan to have new content each weekday.
You would definitely need to be paying very close attention to notice this, but when New Orleans’ sharpshooting sixth man’s name is correctly written in articles and the box score, it’s always “JJ” and never “J.J.” The reason? Those initials are not abbreviations for first and middle names that both begin with the letter “J.” No, JJ Redick’s given full name is actually “Jonathan Clay Redick.” The story of how he became almost exclusively known as “JJ Redick” dates back to when he was an infant – and is a direct reflection of the fact that he has older twin sisters.
As Redick explained, when he was a baby and people approached the Redick family to ask what their precocious infant boy’s name was, his pre-grade school twin sisters – roughly 4 1/2 years older than him – would often almost simultaneously exclaim “J!” To the listener, that sounded like “JJ.” That repeated 10th letter of the alphabet ended up being how the now 35-year-old would be referred to throughout his four-year college career at Duke, as well as 14 seasons (and counting…) in the NBA.
“My name is JJ, but it’s not JJ,” a smiling Redick said. “When I was a baby, people would ask, ‘What’s that baby’s name? He’s very handsome! He’s so good-looking!” he continued, jokingly. “My sisters would holler at me, ‘JJ!' So it stuck. My earliest memories in life, from when I was three years old, I was always (called) JJ.”
Redick – who is averaging 14.9 points in ’19-20 and ranks third in the NBA in three-point percentage (45.2) – pointed out on Pelicans Media Day that there is a notable exception within his family.
“The only person my whole life who has ever called me Jonathan,” he noted, “is my 94-year-old grandmother.”