Richard Jefferson spent 17 years in the National Basketball Association and donned the colors of a number of teams including the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs and the Nets. The forty two year old, after calling time on his career stepped unto the broadcast booth as a commentator and analyst is making a name for himself; but he has added another feather to his cap. RJ Crosses to the Other Side Jefferson officiated the second quarter of the Summer League match between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night after going through a week-long referee training course. “I didn’t want to do this,” Jefferson said. “The NBA asked would I be interested. I have such a tremendous amount of respect for the referees, how important they are to the game and I have always treated every single one of them as such. I just respect them because I know their importance to our game and to the integrity to our game.”
a legendary summer league performance by @Rjeff24 pic.twitter.com/FqHHz2kk9U — SB Nation (@SBNation) July 12, 2022
Why Did He Get Chosen for the Gig? This was not some honorary assignment. The NBA put him to work to get him ready.
He went through hours of instruction for the 10-minute gig, studying video with other referees and NBA executives. He had been learning the terminology that referees use, along with the responsibilities that come with working each of the three positions on the officiating crew.
Why do this? 1. Tremendous amount of knowledge about our game that I’ve learned sitting in classes with the best refs in the world 2.I do this because not many people would dare put themselves in this position. The more info I have the more informed I am as a broadcaster — Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) July 11, 2022
Part of the reason RJ took on the gig is to have a better grasp of the officiating terminologies and certain the experience will make him a better analyst. He is Not New to Foul Calls Jefferson is no stranger to the whistle. He was called for 2,637 fouls over his 1,181 career games. That includes 45 technicals, as well, and two ejections. But actually playing the part of whistler was something Jefferson felt he needed to do to become a better analyst of the game. While he appeared to enjoy the highs of holding the power of a referee, he also quickly felt the lows of fan scrutiny that comes with the responsibility. Shortly into his debut, Knicks fans heckled and jeered him during an out-of-bounds call he eventually reversed.
"This is fun. I can see why this is addicting."@Rjeff24 was mic'd up during his NBA referee debut 👏😅 pic.twitter.com/tZOwvynP4q — ESPN (@espn) July 12, 2022