Skip to main content

“I want no part of this s**t” — Richard Jefferson on Kyrie Irving's game-winning shot in the 2016 NBA Finals

It's refershing to hear an NBA champion admit he was scared of the moment.
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving, Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson

Steph Curry, Kyrie Irving, and Richard Jefferson

Kyrie Irving’s 3-point shot in the 2016 NBA Finals is easily one of the greatest clutch shots in basketball history. Richard Jefferson was on the floor during that epic moment. And he shared what his headspace was like as a player and a spectator.

RJ’s mindset

Jefferson recalls being on the bench and seeing the blur that was LeBron James zoom from the corner of his eye to block Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala’s lay-up. At that point, Jefferson’s hopes of winning his first title were rejuvenated. Then, after a Cavs timeout with just a little over a minute left in regulation, head coach Tyronn Lue called his number up.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

I check into the game. And at first, I’m in the strong-side corner, where Kyrie shot the ball. So Bron clears me out and I was like, ‘Good. ’Cause I want no part of this s***.’ Right? So they clear me out, they take me to the... I got to the other corner. Right? And so, my thing in the corner, I’m like, ‘Ok, well, when this shot goes up, go for the offensive rebound. If you don’t think you get it, you gotta bust your ass back,’” Jefferson said, per The Players’ Tribune.

While Jefferson had his plan laid out in his mind, when the shot went up, he didn’t go for the offensive rebound, nor did he quickly get back on defense. Just like the rest of us, he was stunned that Irving went for a 3-pointer in the dying seconds of Game 7 of the NBA Finals. And it went in.

Alternative scenario

If you’ve watched a bit of basketball, you know that players sometimes have to call audible and improvise amid a drawn-up play. While the ball is usually in the hands of the best player during a clutch situation, there are occasions when a role player is the one to take the final shot. Jefferson entertained the possibility of Irving getting double-teamed and him getting the ball.

Like I see Kyrie Irving dribbling over there and I’m like ‘Ok, Ky.’ I was like — first of they cleared me out — and I was like ‘Thank God.’ Because if my man went to go double and they threw me the ball, I don’t know what the f**k I was going to do. I might have made a shot, I might have dunked it, I might have dribbled off my foot. I don’t know,” Jefferson said.

Jefferson might be exaggerating a bit. The 2016 NBA Finals was his fourth finals appearance. So the man is used to high-pressure situations. Perhaps he’s just so happy that the Cavaliers accomplished the impossible: comeback from a 3-1 deficit against a 73-win team. But it was refreshing to hear someone be honest about feeling fear in an important moment. 

Los Angeles Clippers guard John Wall

“I would have been starting or I would have been playing big minutes” — John Wall on if he didn’t sign with the Los Angeles Clippers

Wall apparently understood that taking his talents to L.A. meant sacrificing a potentially more substantial role elsewhere

Shaquille O'Neal and Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis

"AD is balling, he's dominating" — Shaquille O'Neal speaks on Anthony Davis' recent play

NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal sat down to discuss the recent dominant play from Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis.

Stephen A. Smith

"Kobe was a better individual talent, but Magic got everyone else better" — Stephen A Smith leaves Kobe Bryant out of his top five all-time list

ESPN's Stephen A Smith discussed leaving out Los Angles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant from his all-time top-five list.

Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan explains why he'd rather take on Steph Curry 1-on-1 instead of LeBron James

In 2019, Jordan claimed that Steph wasn't a Hall of Fame candidate yet but took it back 2 years later.

Chicago Bulls forward Scottie Pippen

"I got plenty of clothes with me" — when Scottie Pippen reiterated his trade request on live TV

Scottie Pippen and the Phoenix Suns engaged in outright tampering, and no one batted an eye.

Cedric Maxwell realized what made Larry Bird special on their first practice together

"Hey mop boy, go run and find the scoring record in this building" — how Larry Bird got himself fired up before games

Larry Legend would always go the extra mile to find little ways to motivate himself for a game.