NBA player Richard Jefferson has decided to retire from the NBA after winning his only NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015-2016.
Jefferson was one of the key role players for the Cavs during their playoff run. During Cleveland’s run for the NBA title, he played in 21 games (started 2), averaging 5.4 ppg, 3.5 rpg in 18.1 mpg.
After the Cavaliers beat Golden State on Sunday night for the title, Jefferson offered emotional praise for finals MVP LeBron James, saying he owes his “entire basketball career to him.”
“To be able to get on a team and walk in with a guy that says he’s going to be able to carry you and bring me here, I owe everything, every shot, every play, everything I’ve ever done to that man,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said he was overjoyed with Cleveland’s performance in the finals, adding that it was one of the most stressful months of his life (during the playoffs).
“He’s so good. I thought I was good when I was young, but he’s just so good,” Jefferson said of LeBron James, who led the Cavs to the championship.
Jefferson then recalled playing with other great NBA players during his 15-year career.
“I was fortunate to play with Tim (Duncan), I know he was towards the end of his career. I had JKidd (Jason Kidd) in his prime, and he was special, the way he did it on both sides of the ball,” Jefferson recalled.
And LeBron James is right there with the best of them, according to Jefferson.
“LeBron is just so intelligent, physically demanding out there. He just wants to win. You don’t have to be a LeBron fan to appreciate what he does, just enjoy it,” Jefferson said.
“I remember watching Michael Jordan in his last couple of years and the ratings were so high because you know you might never see it again. Tim (Duncan) was great, Kobe (Bryant) was great, but to get a chance to watch the guy do what he likes is so impressive,” he said.
Jefferson was the No. 13 pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He spent his first seven seasons with New Jersey, and also played for San Antonio, Milwaukee, Utah, Golden State and Dallas before coming to Cleveland.
Richard Jefferson played in 1082 NBA regular season games (started in 796), averaging career 13.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg in 30.1 mpg. He averaged career high 22.6 ppg for the New Jersey Nets in 2007-08.
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