Al Jefferson Press Conference Highlights
Audio can be found here.
–”It’s the first time in my career I actually gotta be ready to catch the ball or the ball might hit me in the face.”
–On playing the 5:
“I’ve been playing the 5 my whole career…the biggest difference [between the 4 and 5 is] the 5 is the captain on defense. That’s something that everyone knows has been weak in my game, my defense, but I feel like me being here is going to bring it to another level. You have to play defense here to win, they didn’t win 50-some games last year just with offense, so I think that’s
going to help me too.” [I would argue that we won 50-some games last year in spite of our defense, but I don't want to ruin his perception.]
–Difference between himself and Boozer:
“Boozer can beat you a lot of different ways. My whole mindset ever since I’ve been playing basketball is, I like to be in the ring, I like to be in the paint. That’s where we get nasty at, that’s where you become a man.…I think he had the edge on me as far as the outside range, but maybe I have the edge on him–no disrespect to him–I got the edge on him in the post game.”
“I remember playing against him last year and he hit me with a step-back jumper. I said, ‘You’re never going to make that,’ and [he] nailed it like he’d been doing it all his life, and he said, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve been working.’ That’s what he said to me. I said, ‘Respect.’ I’m a big fan of his game.”
–Al’s dad died when he was a baby and he was raised by his mom and two grandmothers, who had 12 kids each. He looked up to his grandmothers growing up, and they instilled in him the mindset that if he wanted something, it wasn’t going to be handed to him and he would have to work for it. His maternal grandmother was a good basketball player and a big fan of Karl Malone, and she’s excited about him coming to the Jazz because he now has the opportunity to become a Malone-type player.
He averaged 42 points per game in high school, but if he missed a rebound in a game they won by 20, his grandmother would still grab him after the game and yell at him in front of all his friends and fans.
Media: “She sounds a lot like Jerry.”
Al: “That’s what I’m preparing for; I need a coach like that. I need a coach that’s going to get everything out of me…I can adjust [to a tough coach]. I need that; I’m prepared for that.”
–He was very candid about his DUI, saying that it was a stupid mistake, he’s learned his lesson, and it’ll never happen again.
–Regarding his knee, he said that he’s finally feeling like his pre-injury self again.
–”The first thing [Deron] said to me [when they talked the night before was], ‘I’m going to make you an All-Star.’ That’s what he said to me. I [almost] dropped the phone. I was just so excited to know that I have his support. That meant a lot to me.”
From Al’s 1280 Interview:
–Mo Williams called him the night the trade went through and told him, “You’re going to love [Jerry Sloan]…he’s going to treat you like a man, he’s going to treat you with respect.” Doc Rivers and Randy Whitman also have “so much respect” for Jerry.
–Message to the fans: “Al Jefferson is here to win. Al Jefferson is going to do whatever it takes to win games, and get this team to the championship, and win the championship.” [Carlos Boozer's legacy as a PF in Utah might have been different if he had periodically referred to himself in the third person lol.]
From Al’s KALL Interview:
–Al knew that the Wolves were shopping him, and when Boozer signed with Chicago he asked his agent, “What about Utah?” His agent told him that he hadn’t heard from the Jazz. One week later, the Jazz got in touch and he told his agent that Utah was his first choice and to make it happen. He kept his fingers crossed, but he was still in disbelief when it happened.
From Al’s Interview with DJ&PK:
–What he most looks forward to in Utah:
“Playing with D. Williams. Having the opportunity to play with him is something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life…I think he’s the best [point guard in the league]…Playing for Coach Sloan would have to be up there too because he’s a very well-respected coach and [having those] two guys behind me, supporting me, and pushing me, the sky’s the limit for me.”
–Al also says/claims that he’s never heard any NBA player saying anything bad about Utah and that everyone he’s ever talked to wouldn’t mind coming to Utah.
From Al’s Interview with ABC4:
–”This is my chance…only one that can mess this up is me, and I’m not going to let that happen.”
–”I’m going to do what it takes. Whatever Coach wants me to do, whatever I need to do, I’m going to do it…you take care of your game, your game will take care of you.”
From Al’s Interview with Tom Kirkland:
–”A guy [that's] been through what I’ve been through and got a chance to come here, why wouldn’t he come here and give 130%, why wouldn’t he come here and show this team they made the right decision? That’s what I’m all about, that’s what I want to do. I don’t think I did Utah a favor; they did me a favor, and I’m thankful.”
–”I never got a birthday present until I was old enough to buy my own. I didn’t feel bad about that. I didn’t feel bad about not having a Christmas present, because my family made it so like, just being together as a family. That’s the present that you need…that’s the way they brought us up, to be humble, to be thankful.”