OAKLAND — Talk about going out on top.
After an NBA Finals where the veteran journeyman ended up playing a key role for the Cavaliers, allowing them to go small and match up with the Warriors for stretches, Richard Jefferson decided this was the time to retire. Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer broke the news.
Jefferson played 15 NBA seasons after Houston drafted him 13th out of Arizona back in 2001. He averaged 13.3 points per game for his career, with the high coming in 2008 when he averaged 22.6 for the Nets.
After the game, he talked about LeBron James and what he meant to Jefferson’s career.
“I’ll give you a little walk down right now,” Jefferson said. “I lost the national championship game to Duke, then I lost two straight NBA Finals (with the Nets), then my third year we lost to Detroit after being up 3-2 and they won the championship, then I lost to Miami and they won the championship, then to top it off I went to the Olympics and we were the worst (American) team of all time.
“My whole career has been so, so close. Then I had a stretch of six to seven years where you become a little bit of a journeyman. 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.”