The recently retired Richard Jefferson has provided a look behind the curtains of his NBA career in a hilarious and emotional piece for The Player’s Tribune.
Jefferson discussed seeing drive-bys, murders and drug dealers while growing up in South Central L.A., and chilling with Luke Walton and Gilbert Arenas at the University of Arizona.
RJ went on to talk about playing for the Nets during 9/11, having a fight with Kenyon Martin and finally, winning the 2016 title with the Cavs.
The 17 year veteran stressed that “the average person truly has no idea how insanely competitive you have to be to get to an NBA Finals.”
“It’s an inhuman competitiveness that you have to channel. And to win it? It’s honestly sick. It takes you past the breaking point of what’s healthy – mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.”
Jefferson goes on to admit that he “did not believe for a single second” that the Cavs were ever going to beat Golden State.
“Definitely, definitely, definitely not when we were 1-3,” Jefferson wrote. “Listen, I’m going to be honest with you. I’m retired now, so who cares?
I was in the locker room at halftime of Game 7, sitting there just staring at the floor, thinking about the gravity of the moment, and I genuinely had to stop myself from crying right there in the damn locker room.”
Jefferson then reminisces about what he considers three of greatest plays in NBA Finals history: LeBron’s block, Kyrie’s dagger 3-pointer and Kevin Love’s defensive stop on Stephen Curry.
“I have played thousands of games of basketball in my life, and I have never seen anything close to that on a court,” Jefferson said of LeBron’s block. “It was like Superman swooping down in the movies.”
RJ signs off by taking one last shot at the Golden State Warriors, who it’s safe to assume that he doesn’t like very much.
“Some titles… they just mean more than other titles. That’s just the truth. I know it. You know it. Golden State knows it. And Cleveland knows it.”
We all know it, Rich.
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