Former NBA Champion Picks Kyrie Irving to Take Last Shot Ahead of LeBron James and Steph Curry

Published 04/29/2021, 5:30 PM EDT
Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James (6) talks with Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kyrie Irving (2) during media day the day before Game 1 of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., on Wednesday, June 1, 2016. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)


The Cleveland Cavaliers 2016 title win was legendary for a lot of reasons. They overcame a 3-1 deficit. LeBron James won a championship for his city. They beat the best regular season team of all-time. And none of this would have been possible if not for Kyrie Irving’s clutch shot.

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With 55 seconds left to go, the Cavs were tied with the Warriors at 89-89. Instead of playing it safe and slowly building a lead, Irving hit an audacious three pointer over Steph Curry to get the Cavs ahead by three points. From then onwards, they rode the momentum to win the game and the title.

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That shot earned Irving the reputation of being a clutch player. So that’s why, when his former teammate Richard Jefferson was asked to name a player who he would entrust with the last shot of the game, he picked Irving.

“He’s not the best person I’ve played with, because I’ve played with Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron and Steph. But the person that hit the biggest shot I’ve ever been part of is Kyrie… (I’d pick Kyrie) if I had to have one person. Because that shot changed my life,” Jefferson said during an interview with YouTuber Kentrell Beecham.

Jefferson had a long career while playing with some of the best players of all time like LeBron, Steph Curry and Tim Duncan. That makes it more special for him to choose Irving.

Richard Jefferson: Not just LeBron James and Kyrie Irving’s teammate

Jefferson is currently an NBA analyst with ESPN and has been in the media since he retired in 2018. But before that, he had an excellent career in the league which lasted almost two decades.

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Jefferson started his career with the Brooklyn Nets (New Jersey Nets back then) in 2001. In his first two seasons in the league, he went to the NBA Finals with the Nets on both occasions. Sadly, he lost both, but that is still a significant achievement. He also had a couple of 20+ppg seasons for the Nets. These are some feats he never gets credit for.

He is only remembered for being a bench player on the Cavs 2016 title team, but he also played a vital role for them both on court and in the locker. Despite all the harsh criticism he gets, Jefferson was one of the better players of the early 2000s who ended his career as an NBA champion.

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Aaron Mathew

1556 articles

Aaron Mathew is a sports analyst at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Mass Media from Xavier’s College, Aaron has been a part of EssentiallySports since May 2020 where he covers both NBA and NCAA basketball news, and has also covered NBA 2K. In the past, Aaron has worked at the Sports Desk of Mumbai Mirror.

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