Thanks for Everything, Big Al
When rumors first surfaced that the Jazz were trying to acquire Al Jefferson, I was dead set against it.
By the end of his introductory press conference, Al had won me over.
I’ve always felt like many of the issues fans or even I may have had with Al on the court were due to improper usage. Defensive issues aside–and not to ignore Al’s unique skillset in the low post and all of his clutch moments–if Al had been used as a cog in the Jazz’s offense (which was what he was expecting when he arrived in Utah) rather than used as the entire offense, the Jazz may have seen more success and there would perhaps have been less frustration among fans.
Off the court, what was not to love?
Al took a lost Enes Kanter under his wing and worked with him (all the while knowing Enes would probably replace him one day).
Even as the vet and one of the captains of the team, he wasn’t shy about asking Derrick Favors for help and tips on defense.
He said on multiple occasions that he would be ok with his minutes going down if it gave the Jazz a better chance to win. He once took himself out of a game so that Favors could stay in the game and the Jazz would have a better chance to win.
Another time, Tyrone Corbin drew up the last play of the game for him and Al asked Corbin to run it for Paul Millsap, who was having a great night, instead.
Al probably knew he was gone at locker room cleanout, but he was gracious and classy and had a great attitude about his time with the Jazz. (I encourage you to read or re-read his comments from that day.)
All in all, Al Jefferson is just a great guy and
had the biggest bed in Jazz history was one of the best teammates in Jazz history.
Some of the best Big Al moments from the past three seasons:
And last but not least, who could forget “I fell on my buh-tocks”? :)
Thanks for everything and best of luck to you in Charlotte, Big Al. May the ESA cheer and welcome you when you return.