Feb 18, 2022; Cleveland, OH, USA; Former Cleveland Cavaliers player Richard Jefferson motions to the crowd during the second half of the Ruffles NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at the Wolstein Center. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Richard Jefferson played 19 seasons in the NBA, winning an NBA championship, appearing in over 1,000 games, and scoring more than 12,000 points. But he got to experience the game of basketball in a completely new way on Monday night.

Jefferson, now a broadcaster for ESPN, got a chance to try his hand at officiating during Monday’s Summer League game between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers, serving as one of the game’s officials for the second quarter.

Before the game, Jefferson took to Twitter to share the reason for doing it, outside of the obvious entertainment factor.

“Why do this?” Jefferson asked on Twitter. “1. Tremendous amount of knowledge about our game that I’ve learned sitting in classes. 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.”

All in all, Jefferson’s brief stint as a referee went well, except for one blown call where he gave the wrong team possession out of bounds – though that call was quickly corrected by another official.

Jefferson enjoyed the experience so much that he plans to do it again during next year’s summer league.

“I will come back to summer league next year and go to class,” Jefferson said. “I would love that.”

The NBA world enjoyed Jefferson’s experience too, reacting with plenty of jokes, but also messages of respect for Jefferson’s willingness to try his hand at officiating.


After the successful trial run, Jefferson will now return to his normal role as an NBA broadcaster for ESPN.