words & interview_Christopher Cason Although his numbers statistically have done nothing to own up to the five-year $30 million contract he received in 2006, thanks to a very generous Isiah Thomas, Jared Jeffries has always been known for his defense and doing the little things that affect only the +, - category of a stat sheet. After a midseason trade to the over-achieving Houston Rockets, Jeffries made a seamless transition into Shane Battier's role, by drawing charges and picking up the opposing team's best player on defense. I caught up with Jeffries in late March, as the Rockets were in town to play the Bulls, to ask him about the Brand that's been a part of his life since childhood. What's been your favorite pair of Jordans to play in this season, so far? I've played in the all white patent leather XIs. Just playing in those, I loved it. It's just hard to describe because I love so many pairs of Jordans, I love wearing them and being a part of it. How did it feel being one of a selected few to represent the brand? I've played with MJ and known him for a while, so for him to let me be part of his family and part of the Brand Jordan family is something that I really take a lot of pride in and something I was proud of. He's the greatest player ever and to be part of what he does is an achievement for me. What are some of the responsibilities that come with wearing that name? He's big in the community. We do community events, Brand Jordan community events, being respectful and respecting the game. I think one of the greatest things he did was, he was true to the game of basketball and he always told me, if you give the game of basketball respect and work hard, it will give back. It's done that for me, so far. I know you were big into Jordans coming up as a kid and looking up to Jordan. Yeah, like any kid when new Jordans were coming out, you always wanted that new pair. I was that same kid. I always wanted the new Jordans and my parents would always try to find a way to get me a pair. What would be your favorite pair of all-time? Probably the XI's. I just love them. So many memories about those. It's hard to say, though. You got so many pairs of shoes you love. The XI's or the IX's.