JJ Redick reacts to Jaxson Hayes putback dunk vs Chicago Bulls, 2/6/20
Pelicans guard JJ Redick reacts to Jaxson Hayes' putback dunk vs Chicago Bulls, 2/6/20

JJ Redick reaction to Jaxson Hayes putback dunk goes viral

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

CHICAGO – As has been the case since cell phones became omnipresent in the mid-2000s, NBA players often receive congratulatory texts from friends and family immediately after a victory or an excellent individual performance. Following Thursday’s 125-119 win over the Bulls, JJ Redick looked at his phone and saw a message that could only happen in today’s Meme-friendly, social media-driven climate. Sure, the 14-year NBA veteran was instrumental in the Pelicans prevailing, scoring 18 points in his 23 minutes off the bench, but postgame conversation didn’t have much to do with his seven baskets or five assists in the United Center. No, what everyone wanted to talk about – including one of Redick’s siblings – was Redick's facial expressions after a first-quarter dunk by rookie center Jaxson Hayes.

After Redick missed a right-wing three-pointer, Hayes soared in from seemingly out of nowhere to throw down one of the top NBA highlights of 2019-20, prompting an incredulous reaction by Redick to the slam.

“My little sister sent me a text (about it),” Redick said of the look on his face that immediately went viral – and will likely serve as fodder for Pelicans fans online the rest of this season. “I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ She said, ‘That reaction was priceless!’ I said, ‘What reaction?’ ”

While Redick didn’t remember the humorous way he responded to Hayes’ high-flying dunk, Zion Williamson had a more vivid memory of the sequence.

“When he jumped, I was like, ‘What is he jumping for?’ ” Williamson said, alluding to the improbability of Hayes being able to author a putback slam. “But then he (dunked) it. I didn’t know how to react, to be honest. If you look at the replay, I probably sat there for a second and (thought), ‘No way he caught that.’ ”

Hayes actually had two other highlight-worthy dunks against the Bulls, a team that started seeing what the 19-year-old is capable of in midair last summer. As Hayes continually generates SportsCenter-caliber plays, his teammates are beginning to get a bit more accustomed to what he can do, but they’re still a bit astounded from time to time, as was the case Thursday.

“We were on the bench the other day – and maybe this is not true – but it seems like once or twice a game, he does something that you are literally amazed by,” Redick said, shaking his head. “He’s got just a special talent for timing, whether it’s a dunk or a follow dunk, a chasedown block. It’s remarkable.”

Calls of the Game: New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls - Game 52 - Feb. 7, 2020

Hear the voice of the New Orleans Pelicans, Todd Graffagnini, call the Pelicans game against the Chicago Bulls on the Pelicans Radio Network, ESPN 100.3 FM New Orleans. Listen in.

Game 52: Pelicans at Bulls 2/6/20

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Calls of the Game: New Orleans Pelicans vs Chicago Bulls - Game 52 - Feb. 7, 2020

Hear the voice of the New Orleans Pelicans, Todd Graffagnini, call the Pelicans game against the Chicago Bulls on the Pelicans Radio Network, ESPN 100.3 FM New Orleans. Listen in.
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