Richard Jefferson had a long and successful NBA career crowned with the ultimate prize, the championship won with the Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2016.
Throughout his 17 seasons in the NBA, Richardson was a solid wing player capable of playing both ends of the floor and provided a solid spark from the bench for that Cavaliers team in 2016.
In a great piece for The Players Tribune, Jefferson recollected about his run with the Cavaliers and a lot of other things in his illustrious career. Jefferson thinks 3 of the best plays in NBA history happened in the 4th quarter of game seven when the Cavs beat the Warriors.
Jefferson knows he is being subjective but it’s great to hear how players perceive some of the plays we see on the big screens and from the comfort of our houses.
“I know that I’m biased as hell, but for me, that 4th quarter had three of the greatest plays in NBA Finals history. I was sitting five feet from the hoop when LeBron blocked Iggy. I have played thousands of games of basketball in my life, and I have never seen anything close to that on a court. It’s impossible. I saw the fast-break developing in real time, and I said, “They’re gone. F***. We’re down.”
I’m watching Iggy go up for the layup, and then I just see this black blur. It was like Superman swooping down in the movies. I’m dead serious. It was just a blur. I’ve seen crazy things on an NBA court. All kinds of freakish athleticism. But I’ve never seen anything like that. Lebron broke the laws of physics.”
Jefferson also remembers feeling like a fan when he saw Kyrie Irving make that ridiculous shot in crunch time that pretty much sealed the deal for the Cavaliers.
I was actually on the floor for Kyrie’s dagger three-pointer with a minute left, and that was one of the only times in my career that I felt like I was a fan watching on TV. I’m standing in the corner, and I see him do the quick hesi, and I’m like … He’s gonna… Oh f*** he’s really gonna… Oh, f*** that went in!!!
That was one of the gutsiest shots I’ve ever seen, on that stage, in that moment.
The third moment from that remarkable fourth quarter in Jefferson mind is also the defense Kevin Love played on Stephen Curry for full ten seconds. That sequence was according to Jefferson “the essence of basketball. ”
Kevin Love, one-on-one in space with Steph Curry, with the NBA Finals on the line. With the weight of history on his shoulders. What he did will never get enough credit. Kevin stops Steph not just once, but twice, and forces an impossible shot. For me, that play is the essence of basketball. Forget everything that came before that moment. The whole game. The whole series. The whole season. The whole 50-plus years that Cleveland was waiting for their title. All that matters is that 10 seconds.