A Few Good Men served as the breakout hit Aaron Sorkin needed to launch a GOATed career as a playwright, screenwriter and television creator. Iconic performances by Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise defined the Rob Reiner-directed smash hit, but dare I say, among all the countless parodies that 1992 classic has inspired, JJ Redick’s probably takes the cake.
Presented as if Redick is ranting mostly at Nicholson’s character, Marines Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, the video seamlessly cuts between the former NBA sharpshooter going scorched Earth on how the modern NBA does not, in fact, keep rewriting the rules to cater to offenses. Redick cites no fewer than six recent rules modifications that actually favor the defense.
Please just watch this. It’s approximately 90 seconds. I promise it doesn’t disappoint.
You talk about creativity, delivery of illuminating information whilst simultaneously having a passionate take on the issue at hand, and roping in one of the most widely known pop cultural touchstones in America from the previous century? That’s one hell of an achievement to pull all that off, make it funny, and almost single-handedly put an end to any argument about NBA players across different eras.
Because yeah, even with those defense-skewing rules changes, there’s never been more scoring, raw athleticism or advanced skill on a professional basketball court in the history of the world. The game is more perimeter-oriented these days. That doesn’t mean guards are having all the fun. We’re seeing big men evolve to expand their skill sets. The most mind-blowing players to behold are the freak-of-freak 7-footers like Victor Wembanyama, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid, and Chet Holmgren. Nikola Jokic and Kevin Durant are technically listed at 6-11, but they’re in that category as well.
Speaking of KD, he used to do that rip-through motion where he’d suddenly explode into a shooting motion through the defender’s arms and draw a foul. That’s one of the rule changes Redick alludes to. Thank goodness that’s no longer part of the game. Same goes for James Harden’s pathetic, arm-flailing drives into the lane that he used to earn a bunch of fraudulent numbers and MVP awards. Anything where the offensive player initiates 100% of the contact and the foul is called on the defense is flat-out dumb to me.
By the way, here’s the original cut of Redick’s rules rant from a recent interview with Boston Celtics star Derrick White on The Old Man and the Three podcast.
Although NBA officiating, like that of the NFL, still has a long ways to go in terms of letting superstars get away with cheap calls and easy trips to the free throw line, at least the rules themselves have tried to guard against that. With those superstar call scenarios still rampant, the long grind of an 82-game season and resultant lack of trying on defense, the expansion of many big men’s shooting range, and the quicker overall pace of play, of course NBA scoring is up.
It just has nothing to do with rule changes, because if anything, the NBA has started to correct course in the opposite direction. We now know this for sure thanks to JJ Redick and his team’s clever video mashup. I still can’t believe it exists. How did Redick’s people make it happen!? I’m all for movie references crossing over with sports. This is several levels beyond most of the stuff I’ve seen.
A Few Good Takes is a masterpiece. I really don’t use that word lightly. Give it a Webby, a Sports Emmy, hell, a full-blown Oscar for achievement in short film. Create a new category or something. If it doesn’t come to pass, bet your a** that JJ’s crew will indeed order the code red on the Academy.
Bonus: There are downright legendary stories from the set of A Few Good Men about Nicholson, as relayed to Rich Eisen by cast member Kevin Pollak.