In an interview with Max Resetar for SLAM Magazine, Richard Jefferson remembers his years as a member of the New Jersey Nets, including the time he got into a fist fight with teammate Kenyon Martin. During the 2001-02 NBA season, Jefferson was a rookie fresh out of the University of Arizona when he got into a back-and-forth with Bonzi Wells during a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“Towards the end of the game, me and Bonzi Wells are kinda getting into it. Kenyon’s at the bottom of the free throw line and the referee tells Kenyon, ‘Tell your rookie to be quiet because I don’t wanna have to give him a technical this late into the game.’ Kenyon tells me, ‘Hey Richard, be quiet.’ Bonzi Wells goes, ‘Yeah! Listen to Kenyon and shut up.’ I just lose it. I’m like, ‘F, Bonzi! And F, you too, Kenyon!’"
When Jefferson returned to the locker room, it didn't take long for him to realize why you shouldn't say "F you" to Martin.
“I go and sit down, I’m mad, pissed off. I’m sitting down and Kenyon comes in the locker room pissed off. I stand up and he pushes me down in my seat. We have a full-on fistfight. The only thing that saved me is Aaron Williams, and you remember how big he was, grabbed him from the back to try and calm him down. My last swing hits Aaron Williams in his lip and busts his lip open. At that point in time, I realize what is going on. I have no problem fighting Kenyon. Aaron? I don’t want any piece of,” RJ says still with a quiver in his voice.
Of all people, it was the 6-foot-9, 220-pound Williams who could strike fear into RJ's heart. Through their scuffle, Jefferson came away a greater meaning, admitting, “Even that fist fight right there, we both understood how much we wanted to win and that we were willing to fight anybody, including each other, to get that done.”
To read the piece in its entirety, including how Jefferson nearly wrecked his car when he heard the news of Jason Kidd getting traded to the Nets, click here.
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