Richard Jefferson

Supported by Greenhaven Road Capital, finding value off the beaten path.

Richard Jefferson spoke with Bill Simmons about the NBA, LA, and the media.

Place matters.

“I’m down there in San Diego with nothing to do. It’s beautiful but you get lazy as shit there really quick. Everyone is super happy and mellow. I had to move up to LA.”

Jefferson didn’t thrive in San Diego, so he left. Ken Burns lives in New Hampshire, not New York. George Lucas left Hollywood for San Francisco. Milton Hershey lived in central Pennsylvania. Warren Buffett lives in Omaha.

Place in part of our ecosystem. Place affects our actions.

Compounding debt or surplus?

“A lot of the things I learned there (in San Antonio) have helped me prolong my career since I left there. Like the way, you need to work out during the summer. The way you need to take care of your body. The constant focus on your weight and your body fat.”

As a Spurs fan, I was excited when Jefferson signed with the team. Their engagement was a disappointment. But he learned about physical debt there. If you don’t take care of your body then the debts pile up, compound, and come due.

Surpluses compound too. Adam Grant said his first book took twelve years to write. That’s compounding. Illmind compounded his work into a career. Compounding also works in Fitness and Finances.

Accounting for our debts and surpluses helps because we’ll be in situations where we can’t pay down or build up. The NFL is like this said Michael Lombardi. There’s no time to build up your intellectual capital during the season.

Added value.

“I’m always surprised that some owner hasn’t given Chip Engelland twenty million dollars a year. Think about all the money they spend on players, coaches, and everything. This shooting coach has transformed all these different people. I would think that’s worth at least as much as an all-star.” Simmons

Engelland is the “shot doctor”. The question is, how many wins can a coach add? This may be an analytics edge.

In baseball, this played out Big Data Baseball. The Pittsburgh Pirate’s analytics team found that shifting players, ground ball pitchers, and the right catcher were one way to win. Hiring analysts to maximize player value was cheaper than an all-star.

The Pirates adopted the design mindset to express, test, and cycle. What organizations shouldn’t do is cut and paste.  As Adam Grant and Shane Parrish explained, you want to ask, in what conditions does this work? The Spurs are famous for their culture. It’s one of the building blocks of Gregg Popovich‘s team. Remember, place matters.

The skill jar of Jason Kidd.

“He was so smart that he had this whole second part of his career when he was athletically thirty percent of what he was but he knew where to go and who to set up.” – Simmons

Whether mental or physical, much of life is about being in the right place at the right time. We can do this one of two ways.

  1. Move quickly, physically or mentally changing our position.
  2. Be accurate, begin close to the correct place.

Kidd shifted his career from one to another.


Media reports. About the 2004 Olympics Jefferson said:

“We were murdered by the media. They were like, they don’t care. No. None of us had any experience in this.”

“I’m introducing myself for the first time two weeks before the Olympics. And Larry Brown was the worst possible coach we could have had. For that team, they couldn’t have picked a worse coach.”

Media is like a funhouse mirror. Parts will be accurate and parts will be distorted. Andre Agassi was ‘all show and no go.’ Russell Martin was ‘bad.’ These are only the outside view. The media has both objectivity and information deficiency.


Thanks for reading. I’m mikedariano.

5 thoughts on “Richard Jefferson”

  1. […] Richard Jefferson gave the backstory to USA basketball. Ed Catmull gave the backstory to ‘new Steve and old Steve.’ Paul Sonkin said that he reads the WSJ just to find the stupidest story. Sam Hinkie controlled everything but the story. Andre Agassi wrote that image is everything wasn’t a thing until it was. […]


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