The KeepJJ Movement has begun! Catching up with the founder of KeepJJ.com
Wristbands, t-shirts, signs, the subject’s wife! The KeepJJ campaign is not only here, it’s striking straight to the heart of the decision makers involved. Many Magic fans were familiar with the StayDwight campaign that was started last year to try to motivate fans and team management to somehow keep Dwight Howard in Orlando. Realistically, it made no effect. Obviously. In fact, it actually annoyed Howard when it was brought to his attention several times.
The KeepJJ movement, started by Magic season ticket holder Neal Tolar, runs no risk of alienating its star subject. As shown above, even Redick’s wife is on board. Not only is she on board, but she has actively promoted the KeepJJ site on Twitter via following it herself and retweeting the movement.
KeepJJ is also pushing a fan movement, MBO endorsed, to chant “Keep-J-J” while Redick is at the free throw line similar to the “M-V-P chants that fans in Orlando once pathetically attempted to chant for Howard. Try harder this time Magic fans. Just for the next two weeks.
Whether it has any impact in the short-term, remains to be seen. The trade deadline is just a few weeks away and Redick is one of the top targets in the league. Scouts are making their presence felt at the Amway Center and making no secret that J.J. is what’s on their agenda. With his expiring contract, he offers tools that are always in need for contending teams: tremendous shooting and the ability to come into a team without disrupting a locker room.
In the long-term, Redick could be traded and then still return to Orlando this summer when he becomes a free agent. Obviously the risk of him not returning after embedding himself in another city and locker room, is much higher. He could be offered a boat load of money and realize that maybe life beyond Orlando isn’t as bad as he and his wife thought.
If Tolar has his way the Magic will KeepJJ both at the deadline and then re-sign him this summer. Redick has been open about wanting to stay in Orlando, and so has management. As always, money will complicate the end result.
Check out the interview with the KeepJJ founder after the jump:
MBO: What motivated you to develop this campaign to keep J.J. Redick in Orlando?
KeepJJ: He is a professional. A very good talent, with a price point that is well worth the money. A strong man of faith, and a great asset to the community. I just wanted to make sure the Magic new that some of us would find it reprehensible to just give that away.
MBO: How long have you been a Magic fan?
KeepJJ: Day 1… I was at their very first game. My family and I have been season ticket holders every year.
MBO: You have been doing giveaways with signed J.J. Redick merchandise recently, do you know if he is a fan of the site?
KeepJJ: I do not know. His wife, who sits near me, has been nothing but supportive of my efforts. So…Happy wife, happy life!
MBO: Are you familiar with the StayDwight.com campaign from last season? Are you worried you could jinx Redick’s way out of Orlando? Is that your true motivation here?!?
KeepJJ: I knew of it but…A) I’m not a professional athletic promoter, and B) I never wanted him to stay. I wish Dwight the best. Just not here. JJ’s character has no problems taking the slings and arrows. Dwight had a little problem in that area. We need solid secure men. If this were my business I’d want ten JJ’s before I’d get a Dwight. *MBO note: GREAT answer to that last question*
MBO: If you had one minute to speak with Rob Hennigan and Alex Martins, what would your message to them be?
KeepJJ: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
The efforts of Tolar are admirable. There is clearly no motivation behind this move other than obvious fandom – no self-promotion, no ulterior motives. Just a desire to see a player who shows the efforts that fans want to root for. While there is still no telling what will happen within the next two weeks, or even this summer, Redick epitomizes the culture that Rob Hennigan and the DeVos family are trying to build post-Dwight Howard. Not a bad place to start rebuilding.