Richard Jefferson became a very beloved figure in Cleveland despite only spending two years with the Cavaliers. Jefferson, along with close friend Channing Frye, is credited with bringing a sense of camaraderie and improved chemistry to the 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Jefferson, who retired before this current NBA season, penned a farewell letter in The Players' Tribune
, going through his whole life and career, including being a kid in South Central Los Angeles, to a college kid at the University of Arizona, to being a rookie with the New Jersey Nets during 9/11 and two NBA Finals' runs and then to finally capturing his ultimate goal, the NBA Championship, in Cleveland.
In addition to being one of just seven guys who were relied upon in the Finals for consistent minutes (along with LeBron, Kyrie, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson), Jefferson also started the popular podcast Road Trippin' with Frye and former Cavalier sideline reporter Allie Clifton.
Jefferson, who is currently working as a color analyst for Brooklyn Nets games for the YES Network, wrote, regarding the 2016 NBA Finals, "looking back on it, I really feel lucky, because I feel like 100 years from now, people will still be talking about the 2016 Finals. 100 years from now, people will still be talking about the 2016 Finals.No matter what basketball evolves to. No matter what happens to the Cleveland Cavaliers. No matter what happens to the state of Ohio. No matter if the Warriors wins four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 more titles. (Sorry, Draymond!) One thing will never change. You can never take away 1–3. One-freaking-three. We were dead. My story was over. Sad ending. Everybody go home. It was a good run. Done. Then, Kyrie Irving and LeBron James happened."
He continued his farewell by waxing poetic on the defensive stop that Kevin Love made on Golden State Warriors' superstar Steph Curry. Then, he closed the article with a thank you to the state of Ohio:
"In 17 years in this league, I made a lot of memories. I made a lot of great friends. I drank a lot of great beers. And I can honestly say that I grew from an immature kid into a semi-functioning adult with a family and a sense of peace.
That all means a lot. But there’s one thing that means the most to me, and honestly I think there’s only a handful of guys in the history of the NBA who have experienced this specific feeling.
From time to time, someone will come up to me on the street, or in an airport, and they won’t ask for a selfie. They won’t ask for an autograph. They won’t even want to talk basketball. They’ll just come up and shake my hand and say, “Thank you. Thank you guys for what you did for us.” That’s it. Just thank you. And I know exactly where they’re from, and I know exactly what they mean. I helped bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. A lot of guys got rings — but how many guys can say that? So, yeah, maybe we only got one. But we got THE one. 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 definitely knows it. Some titles mean the world. So let me just say, before I hit the road ….Thank you, Ohio."`
Thank you, Richard.