For the sixth straight season, Al Jefferson is a reliable threat to put up 20 points and 10 rebounds every game. Yet just like the previous eight years of his career, Jefferson was left off the All-Star team this season.
The Utah big man did not mope at home during his downtime, though. After a tornado hit Hattiesburg, Miss., less than 60 miles from his hometown of Prentiss, Jefferson headed to the area to help with the relief efforts. The tornado destroyed or damaged some 800 homes, according to reports, and while Jefferson could not meet with every family affected by the disaster, he did make a major impression on one young girl.
The girl, a sophomore in high school, lost her home and car when they were crushed by a tree. Jefferson, floored by the family’s optimism, offered to buy her a new car.
“You walk into their living room and the whole wall is gone,” Jefferson told The Salt Lake Tribune. “They had the best attitude that you could have. They were just thankful and happy that nobody got hurt, nobody got killed. … They felt like God ain’t going to put them through nothing they couldn’t get through. That type of attitude, it just warms me up to there’s bigger things in life than things that can be replaced.”
Jefferson, 28, is averaging 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game this season for the Jazz. He is a free agent at the end of this season, and some analysts expect him to be traded in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline.