Get to Know: Richard Jefferson
From David Locke’s “Get to Know” series with Jazz players.
I haven’t listened to all of these yet, but this is an early frontrunner for Best “Get to Know.”
First team ever played on: Desert Foothill Scorpions. We were undefeated that year. I was just a role player.
First buzzer beater: Hit one in college on a putback of a Jason Terry miss. It was against Washington on the night they were retiring Sean Elliot’s jersey.
First dunk: Third game of sophomore year in high school; tip dunk.
First pair of basketball shoes: “I had some real, real terrible shoes.” $25 Payless shoes that he would wear through in a week.
First time you ever saw yourself on TV: On a high school sport show.
First nickname: “Movin’ On Up.”
First car ever driven: 1998 Maxima. Didn’t get his license until age of 20.
First CD: MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This” or maybe Naughty by Nature, “Hip Hop Hooray.”
Other players’ jerseys owned: Never have, never will.
First big purchase: Car.
First pet: English bulldog named Stewie after Stewie on Family Guy. “He’s great. He’s such a prick…He is the worst, and I bred him.”
Also have another bulldog named Elwood named after the Blues Brothers. Wanted to name him Butters originally, but was dating a girl with a chihuahua named Peanut at the time. Next bulldog will be named Butters.
First kiss: 6th grade. Her name was Shelley Seaver. Forced to kiss by friends. “It was so sad. Shelley, if you’re listening, I know I was terrible. I’m sorry.”
Best game ever played: Senior year, state championship game against rival school.
Worst game ever played: A couple of 0-for performances.
Best place ever traveled to: Likes cities more than beaches. London, Paris, Amsterdam. Favorite vacation spots are on the Mediterranean: south of France, Capri, etc.
Hardest workout ever: First draft workout against two guys he’d never heard of (Joe Johnson and Rodney White).
Most famous person ever met: Bill Cosby.
Earliest you ever woke up to work out: Is a morning person; has worked out at 8 or 9 a.m.
Best friend in the league: Luke Walton, though he’s retired. College roommates. “I was best man in his wedding. He was the best man in my almost wedding.”
Dinner with three people, dead or alive: Martin Luther King, someone controversial like Richard Marx,* and Michael Jackson.
* I think RJ probably means Karl Marx, but I can’t be sure.
What’s your mom like? Sweetheart. Tough. Single mom who raised three boys, but got off welfare and went back to school to get her college and graduate degrees. Now a teacher at a community college and a minister and a missionary. RJ is a lifelong Democrat and always will be regardless of how much tax he has to pay because public funding helped his mom.
You knew you were in trouble when… One time when he snuck out of the house and had his first beer and got caught and grounded.
You made your mom most happy when… All the time. I love spoiling my mom. Most recently, when he paid off the mortgage on her house.
Inspiration/mentor: So many. Parents, coaches, Jason Kidd, Kenyon Martin.*
* Uhhhhhh…about that last one…
Last sport played besides basketball: Track and field (high jumper).
Last vacation: London.
Last item bought: Home.
Last music downloaded: Something by Kendrick Lamar.
Last bad grade: Failed freshman PE.
Last good grade: I don’t remember. I didn’t graduate college. I’m a college dropout.
Last time you were scared: I don’t know.
Last time you were incredibly happy: Everyday I wake up.
Last time you cried: “The day I was born and the doctor smacked me on my ass.”
Last book you read: Probably the Bible.
Reason for jersey number: Was No. 44 his entire life but Keith Van Horn had No. 44 in New Jersey. No. 24 was available every year since then except in Golden State (retired for Rick Barry) last year.