HoopsHype.com Interviews

Richard Jefferson: "This team is very similar to Arizona"
by Jon Finkel / October 12, 2002

Between you, Jason Collins and Jason Kidd, there’s a lot of West Coast ballers on the same team. Do you think your guys’ style of play has an effect on your East Coast success?

Richard Jefferson: You know, it’s still basketball. We don’t play that different of a style of basketball. Jason Collins is a big banger, I’m an athletic forward... Players like us come from all over the place. We just have a little more in common. We relate to different things better and that makes us better on the court together.

You went to high school in Arizona. You went to college in Arizona. Was it nice to beat up on your old home town Suns ?

RJ: You know, after a while, you play so many games, it’s just like, whatever. I say bring’em on. Whoever wants to try and take us on... Come one, come all.

It looks like you’re going to start this year. Is it a different mindset practicing and getting ready for games knowing you’re going to start?

RJ: Well, it’s still the same kind of competitiveness. I have the same kind of expectations for myself. I want to succeed regardless of if I’m playing thirty minutes or I’m playing ten. I put myself in the same mindset whenever I head on the floor.

I heard you’re a huge Fresh Prince of Bel Air fan. Do you think your basketball team at Moon Valley High could have taken Will’s school?

RJ: Oh, yeah. They were horrible. I saw them play several times on television and it was pretty disgusting.

Do you have a favorite episode of the show?

RJ: I watch’em all. I like every single one, that’s why it’s my favorite show. I couldn’t even pick one.

What do you think about the show when Will purposely missed the shot in front of the scouts because he felt bad for the kid he was playing against? Have you ever heard of anyone doing that?

RJ: I’ve never heard of anyone actually doing that and I can tell you that I’ll never miss one on purpose. Ever. I still can’t believe Will did that. It’s a shame.

That it is. Since we’re talking about high school. You were the man on your high school team and one of the big guns on your team in college. How have you adjusted to your role here?

RJ: Well, we had a real balanced team in college. We had five guys my last two years that averaged double figures and we were very competitive. That’s very similar to here. We have a lot of guys and everyone has their role. It’s not just one or two people that are depended on to carry the team.

At times last year, Jason Kidd took you guys to another level. What’s the biggest thing you take away from playing with a guy like Kidd?

RJ: With Jason, I try to learn from his competitiveness and the consistency that he plays with every game.

Who was your biggest thrill playing with or against last year in your first season in the league?

RJ: Well, I would have to say that playing with Jason Kidd was definitely my biggest thrill.

Jon Finkel is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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