NBA

Richard Jefferson.

Richard Jefferson announces his retirement after winning his first ever championship

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The Cleveland Cavaliers will be celebrating throughout the week and who can blame them after they secured their first championship in franchise history with a win over the Golden State Warriors. 

The manner of the series win and the subplots that were riding on it made it all the sweeter. The Cavs became the first team to ever overturn a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and gained revenge on the team that denied them at the same stage last year. 

But despite having Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love fit this time around, unlike last season, it wasn't the same Warriors team either. 

The personnel may have been the same for the Dubs but they were now a historic franchise having won a record 73 games in the regular season. 

The size of the task facing the men from Ohio was even bigger which makes it one of the greatest achievements in the history of the league. 

LeBron James has fulfilled his lifelong dream of bringing a trophy to his hometown team and even though he was named the Finals MVP having become the first ever player to lead the Finals in points, assists, rebounds, blocks, and steals, he must acknowledge his supporting cast. 

Irving elevated his game to a new level in this series and hit the dagger three-point shot that effectively sealed the win in game seven and J.R. Smith hit some big shots to start the second half when Golden State threatened to run away with it.

2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven

Tristan Thompson showed that the Cavaliers were right to offer him a max contract with some big displays and even though he had his struggles, K.Love put in a great effort in game seven to help the team get the win. 

One player who exceeded expectations in the Finals and deserves an honourable mention, however, is veteran Richard Jefferson. 

When Love was ruled out of game three with a concussion, R.J. stepped in brilliantly and was terrific throughout the series whether he started or came off the bench. 

The 35-year-old - who turns 36 on Tuesday - initially committed to joining the Dallas Mavericks last summer but Mark Cuban allowed him to renege on that deal when Cleveland and LeBron came calling. 

2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven

Jefferson went to the Finals in his first two years in the league with the New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003 but had to wait 13 years before his next appearance on the biggest stage. 

At the third time of asking, though, he got his hands on the Larry O'Brien trophy and after the game at the Oracle Arena, Jefferson had a special announcement.

Speaking to Fox Sports Ohio post-game, the ecstatic 15-year vet said: "Why are you even talking to me about basketball right now? I am retiring. I am retiring."

If it is indeed the end of the road for the experienced small forward, there's no better way to go.

He has proven to be a valuable member of the Cleveland locker room and regularly shows the bond of the players through his famous Snapchat account which will be something he'll be remembered for by the fans. If you follow R.J. you'll know why.

It's a perfect and fitting way to call time on a great career which has seen him represent seven NBA teams and play 1,082 games. He will forever be held in high regard by those in Northeast Ohio for contributing to the end of a long period of heartache.

Topics:
NBA
Kyrie Irving
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
LeBron James
Richard Jefferson

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