In the midst of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ wild Christmas Day comeback against the Golden State Warriors, Richard Jefferson was struggling. He had missed every shot he’d taken from the field, and, combined with a scoreless streak from teammate Iman Shumpert, he was doing a subpar job of subbing for J.R. Smith, out with a broken thumb. So Jefferson went with a different technique. He hopped in a time machine.
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The 36-year-old Jefferson threw down two age-defying dunks, the second a one-handed jam over Klay Thompson that led LeBron James to ask where Jefferson had found the Fountain of Youth. Even crazier about that dunk, it mimicked almost to a T a jam Jefferson threw down 12 years earlier as a member of the New Jersey Nets.
It’s all there. The one-handed throwdown over a defender. Falling over during the landing in the middle of the lane. The exuberant spin and sprint to the other end of the court. The two dunks are carbon copies.
Now playing in his 15th season, Jefferson has found a way to keep the springs in his legs from rusting. If only he could share that secret with the rest of the seniors in the NBA.