By Michael Fitzpatrick
Veteran Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson maintains an in-season residence in Westlake. He chose to live there in part because of its easy access to downtown and Quicken Loans Arena.
Don’t expect to see the 16-year pro out and about town. He said the team feeds him so well at the training facility and at the arena he rarely ventures out to eat. He said his wife will cook meals at home.
Not that he doesn’t love his neighbors.
“The people are real nice, friendly,” said Jefferson, who, at 36, is an elder statesman on the team.
Jefferson, who came to the Cavs at the start of the 2015-16 season, brought experience and athleticism to the team and was a critical piece of the World Championship run. The 6-foot-7 Jefferson played collegiately at Arizona where he became one of the better-known players in the country while honing his craft under the legendary Lute Olsen.
He played in a Final Four as a junior on a team that lost to Duke in the NCAA Final.
“Thank you for bringing it up, that was really cool,” he said, after being reminded of the loss to Coach K and crew as he stood by his locker following the Cavs’ rout of Dallas on the day after Thanksgiving.
Ultimately the likeable Jefferson wants to become a broadcaster, which would seem to be a natural fit after a brief chat with him. Here, then, is an ever-so-brief Q & A with Richard Jefferson.
Q: Who is the best player you ever had to check?
A: “One of them is LeBron, obviously, but I played against Michael Jordan my rookie year and he had 40 points on us. I can’t imagine what he was like in his prime,” said Jefferson, who started his career in New Jersey and then made stops in Phoenix, Utah, Golden State and San Antonio.
Who was the toughest guy to defend you?
A: “Andrei Kirilenko (Utah Jazz). He was a problem because he was 6-foot-9, athletic, he caused a lot of problems just getting off your shot, and just contesting you on any shot you can get up.”
Q: What’s been your favorite memory in the NBA?
A: “Winning the NBA championship. That’s probably the highlight of most guys’ careers. That’s probably the highlight of everybody’s career.”
Q: What happened when you retired after winning the crown and then decided to come back?
A : “I was at the top. I thought about ending it. Fortunately, we’ve got a great group of guys in here and my teammates and family convinced me to just keep playing, make sure it was all out of my system.”
Q: Who is the best player to come out of Arizona
A: “Sean Elliott is probably the most important guy to come out. Mike Bibby is the highest guy ever drafted.”
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