Comparing eras is one of the most common things in the NBA world and while discussing all of this, things get heated. JJ Redick was bound to get torched after he said that Bob Cousy was great and all but he played against plumbers and firemen which means he downplayed the talent level of the era(50s-60s). The Celtic great couldn't resist commenting and said that he must have played against some of the best plumbers and firemen then, saying that people with less talent many times attack those with higher accomplishments. I mean Redick has been a decent analyst but erm, calling Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and many many more brilliant talent from that time "Plumbers and firemen" isn't a fair criticism of that era.
People with less talent will always try to make a name for themselves by criticizing other people and hopefully getting some attention and perhaps increasing their credibility. So, when you respond to something like this, you play into their hands. I won’t do that, but I will defend the firemen and the plumbers that he referenced. We must have had the best firemen and plumbers on the planet at the time. And, I was very proud to play with all of them