Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/21/12
Do not think it happenstance when J.J. Redick sends defenders flying by him with his shot fake. Neither should you think it a coincidence the number of times Redick finds himself isolated in a pocket of space, basketball in hand and no defender in sight. Instead, credit Redicks attention to detail. The sharpshooter has it in abundance. On Tuesday night, Redick took a small break from turkey duty during the second annual Thanksgiving meal distribution he and his wife host, to explain his precision on the court. I take pride in cutting hard," the seventh-year guard said. "I know that if I go hard every time, the defender wont know the difference between my shot fake and my real shot. Thats dangerous. Sometimes I even make cuts knowing I wont get the ball just to set my defender up for the next cut. Its almost like a game I play within the game. Off the court, Redick is just as precise. When he began to define himself for his Twitter bio, he carefully considered the order of his first two words. Christian. Husband. After the next two descriptions, foodie and music lover, Redick casually threw in, I also play basketball, as if one the most prolific scorers in college basketball history almost forgot his record-breaking career at Duke. It sounds silly, but I didnt always have it in the right order, Redick said, referring to how careful he was in ordering his Twitter bio. The college star had managed to score more points than anyone in Duke history, rack up on national Player of the Year awards in his junior and senior seasons, and successfully make the transition despite many critics in his first few years to becoming a valuable offensive threat in the NBA. Still, Redick felt a void when it came to his identity and purpose. I had some dark periods of time in my life, Redick said. But, my life changed when I was 24 years old. September 2008, to be exact. Of course Redick would know the month and year. The shooting guards brain is wired to remember the specifics. As if to slow down a racing heart, he put his hand over his chest and breathed in deeply as he began to talk about his personal growth. Just the idea that God will meet me where Im at and clean up the mess, Redick said. When I finally surrendered it over, it was life-changing. It was like a weight I had been carrying for so long had been lifted off my back. Redick had found the first word in his Twitter bio and the foundation where his purpose would begin. Around that same time he also meet his future wife and came to know that the second word in his bio would be the next most important part of his life. Talk about Gods providence, Redick said as he looked over at his wife interacting with the families of Orlando. When I met Chelsea, I was finally ready to have a real relationship. The timing couldnt have been more perfect. She is the physical manifestation of Gods love for me. Since their marriage two years ago, the couple has been sharing their hearts and lives through service with people in the community. The Thanksgiving meal distribution will always hold a special place in their marriage. It was the first community event the newlyweds hosted as a couple. Last year, they also founded the JJ Redick Foundation, a not-for-profit organization established to benefit underprivileged youth. In Redicks inaugural celebrity golf tournament, the foundation raised more than 110,000. Earlier this year, his foundation gave 25,000 to begin the expanding effort for the Russell Home of Orlando, a private, non-profit facility for severely handicapped children. Redick has also helped organizations in his home town of Roanoke, Va. We cherish being able to give back, Redick said. Our service is a way for us to say thank you. Im a big fan of the passage John 15. When God tells us to abide in him and we will bear fruit. Not only in our lives, but our fruit will also impact the lives of others. Thats my No. 1 goal in life, to share the love that was given to me. How can I produce fruit in His kingdom? How can I witness in a way that doesnt turn people off? Redick views basketball as an opportunity to bear fruit as well, saying that his faith has given him a sense a perspective that he didnt have before. The competitiveness of professional sports often weighed him down. The inability to control things often stressed him out. The highs and lows of an NBA season kept in on an emotional rollercoaster. All the uncertainties, the peaks and valleys, its a lot to deal with, Reddick said. For a long time I didnt have a foundation. I found myself just tossing and turning with the wind. Now when I go through things, I am able to take a step back and focus on what I am supposed to gain. The shooting guard said one of the first lessons he learned through faith and basketball was patience. Coming out of college, patience was the characteristic he lacked the most. He struggled his first few years in the NBA to find his identity with limited minutes and a limited role with the Magic. Its not like now I cut harder or I work out harder. Ive always been a hard worker," Redick said. "Its more of a mindset for me. I can remember when I finally started to understand that these struggles come to build my character. As the years passed, Redicks hard work and newfound mindset would pay off. In the 2009-10 season, he became an instrumental part of the Magic with Stan Van Gundys system to surround center Dwight Howard with shooters on the perimeter. This year, in an new system under new head coach Jacque Vaughn Redick has redefined his game, becoming more of a creator rather than just a catch-and-shoot player. During many interviews after practice Redick has been asked about his consistent play despite a new offense and new head coach. I have never been more comfortable than I am right now on the court, Redick answered. Thats not to say, that Im entirely comfortable with Jacques system. We obviously still have a lot of things to learn. But, just reflecting on my personal game, Im definitely starting to see the benefits of my work over the years. Tuesday night, as the seven-year veteran handed out turkeys with his wife to the families who passed through Rosemont Community Center, the tattoos on each of his forearms were visible for anyone to see. On the left arm are lyrics from the band Kings of Leon. Single book of matches, gonna burn whats standing in the way. Redick explained that the lyrics mean that hes given a finite amount of time and resources to do something. Whatever obstacles and challenges that arise, he has to figure out a way to burn them down. On the right arm are verses from Psalm 40, a passage that reads, He lifted me out of a slimy pit and gave me a firm place to stand. In a career where highs and lows are extreme and unforeseeable, Redick depends on his faith to be his foundation. Through that foundation he has found his lifes purpose in serving others. But you dont have read the sharpshooter's forearms or even his Twitter bio to get a glimpse of his life story. Just like you can conclude Redicks attention to detail from his play on the court, he hopes his life will also tell of the things he is most passionate about. I want my actions to speak for me, he said.
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