Two weeks ago, Richard Jefferson made a bold declaration on ESPN’s NBA Free Agency special.
The NBA veteran and 2016 NBA champion had the following to say when faced with the possibility of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both joining the Lakers:
“I will retire from this show if KD and Kyrie and Bron are in LA. I will retire…I’m gonna go referee.”
Brian Windhorst says it's been "floated" by executives that the Lakers "would potentially have a package" to trade for both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Richard Jefferson couldn't handle it: "I will retire from this show if KD, and Kyrie, and Bron are in L.A." 🏀 pic.twitter.com/sEyHN0mUqf
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) June 30, 2022
As far as we know, Durant and Irving haven’t gone anywhere yet, especially not the Lakers. But Jefferson is going to become a referee. Well, sort of.
NBA Champion and 17-year NBA veteran Richard Jefferson will officiate the second quarter of tonight's New York vs. Portland game after attending daily NBA Summer League Officiating Meetings in Las Vegas.
🏀 @nyknicks vs. @trailblazers
⏰ 8 p.m. PT / 11 p.m. ET
📺 ESPN2 pic.twitter.com/wNKYxjvJYd
— NBA Communications (@NBAPR) July 11, 2022
The NBA department of communications put out a tweet on Monday afternoon revealing that Refferson will officiate the second quarter of Monday’s NBA Summer League game between the New York Knicks and Portland Trailblazers. Jefferson has spent recent days attending officiating meetings. He’s also a 17-year veteran of the league. After officiating the quarter, Jefferson will join the halftime broadcast on ESPN2.
Most fans loved the idea and were immediately curious how Jefferson would fare with a whistle.
Awesome stuff. Did this at @Big12Conference Officiating Camp in 2005. It changed my complete perspective on officiating. Every game analyst should do this at some point. https://t.co/TLkuNabgrn
— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) July 11, 2022
I like this better than the summer league rings lol https://t.co/zQhaLvdFuj
— Kofie (@Kofie) July 11, 2022
I love this. Richard Jefferson continues to shine as one of the best players-turned-media personalities out there. Him being a referee is going to be hilarious! https://t.co/ckFKSvodVg
— Julian McKenzie (@jkamckenzie) July 11, 2022
Honestly, I guarantee as an ex player he will be better than many refs we could mention… https://t.co/kG5qeDjHKv
— Dia (@diandraann) July 11, 2022
But some fans, in particular those of the Knicks, didn’t want Jefferson anywhere near the game.
Duece and Grimes already have 2 fouls. The hate is about to be rampant https://t.co/8ALDD3RjPe
— Armando Bonheur (@ArmandoBonheur) July 11, 2022
If you ever needed more evidence that Adam Silver does not take officiating seriously, Richard Jefferson was just hired to officiate tonight’s Knicks game smh https://t.co/MTTY85adDr
— Knicky B. from Harlem (@KnickyFrmHarlem) July 11, 2022
Have a feeling Knicks summer league coach Dice Yoshimoto is picking up at least one “T” tonight in Vegas. https://t.co/UpSgOdnHVN
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) July 11, 2022
Others just made the extremely obvious joke.
— Weesh (@Weesherr) July 11, 2022
Richard Refferson in the house
— SEEEN RULEZ (@SEEENRULEZ) July 11, 2022
The move is sure to be a huge ratings boost for ESPN and the NBA. Jefferson is one of the network’s most gregarious personalities and is never afraid to speak his mind. Jefferson has recently dished on a number of topics. From shortening the NBA season to players skipping summer league, Jefferson has had his say. The NBA vet will no doubt have plenty to say after this experience as well.