“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
Those are the words Tim Robbins’ character, Andy Dufresne, sends to his friend Red, played by Morgan Freeman, in the movie Shawshank Redemption. They are also words that aptly fit the newest member of the Suns, even if his name has an extra d at the end.
See, 11 year NBA veteran and former All-Star Michael Redd is all about hope these days. After spending parts of the last three seasons on the bench in Milwaukee with a left knee injury, the guard’s hope is that, with the help of the Suns training staff, he can return to the form that made him a perennial 20+ point scorer in Milwaukee. (Oh, the quote also applies nicely seeing as Redd told Suns.com that his favorite movie just happens to be Shawshank Redemption.)
It was something that became abundantly clear when meeting the 6-foot-6 shooting guard in person for the first time Thursday. His demeanor was endearing and his attitude was one of calm confidence. He’s the kind of person the Suns organization attracts and that fits well into the chemistry of the locker room. (Case in point: despite only being in Phoenix for a matter of hours, Redd made it a point to hug new teammate Robin Lopez and wish him well as the team left the locker room and headed to the bus.)
While you might expect a player who has faced as much adversity as Redd to be tentative when talking about his abilities, he is the exact opposite. It’s not a cockiness but rather a sense that, despite the past, bright things lie ahead of him. And why not, the Suns medical staff, led by Aaron Nelson, has been the World Wildlife Fund of NBA careers, bringing more of them back from the brink of extinction than people care to remember.
Redd is in the third act of his career and, like in Hollywood, it is act III where the climax of the story occurs. Will there be a happy ending where he reemerges as the dominating offensive force he was in Milwaukee or will he find out he just doesn’t have it anymore? If you heard Redd’s voice while talking to the media you’d believe the former.
“I want to play at the elite level that I am accustomed to playing at,” the 32 year old guard said. “So that’s the goal for me, to come back and play at an elite level, to do what I normally do and have fun. To have fun and play without worrying about pain.”
From the Suns’ perspective signing Redd made perfect sense. He is a low risk and high reward signing, not unlike the way Grant Hill was when he came to the Valley in 2007. The best case scenario likens him to John Travolta, a surprise comeback, and the 2011-12 Suns are his Pulp Fiction, an award winning entertainment vessel.
Redd and the Suns are filled with an immense amount of hope for what can become of the 2011-12 season and as Andy Dufresne reminds us, there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it might be the best thing for the guard and the team if he finds his Reddemption in the Valley.