J.J. Redick returns to Amway Center on Wednesday night, playing his first game in that building since its primary tenant, the Orlando Magic, traded him to the Milwaukee Bucks. Redick played six-plus seasons in Orlando, beginning his career as a fan-favorite sparkplug off the bench and eventually growing into a role as a key contributor.
"It feels great to be back home," Redick said when he met the media about 90 minutes before Wednesday's tipoff. Redick met his wife, Chelsea, in Orlando, though she has since joined him in Milwaukee.
Redick hasn't had much trouble adjusting to his new home, at least off the court. "Milwaukee has been a very enjoyable city," he said. "We've been to a Brewers game, concerts, there's a lot going on. It's a good city.
"In terms of the basketball side of it, I think that's the toughest adjustment," he said, describing the time since the trade as "hectic."
Redick has had some time to reflect on his Magic tenure, which included one trip to the NBA Finals and another to the Eastern Conference Finals. "I think that I'm not a superstar, obviously, and that won't be my legacy from my time here in Orlando," Redick said, "but I would like to think that my legacy is someone who played hard all the time, that worked hard, that was a true professional, and a leader."
Redick said it felt "strange" to be in the visiting locker room at Amway Center, and said he even got lost. "I had to catch a cab over [to the arena]," he said. "Didn't know where to go."
When one reporter told him that the Magic plan to play a video tribute to him during the game, Redick laughed. "I"m gonna have to turn away, man," he said. "I appreciate you warning me."
After further consideration, though, Redick said he would watch the video. "I'm gonna have to watch it. I need to be in the moment, for sure, but you guys know I"m an emotional guy. It could get ugly."