Altoona native feeling ‘blessed’ with life among the many stars | Information, Sports activities, Jobs

TJ Jefferson has been working on the Rich Eisen Show since 2018, and in front of the camera since August. / Courtesy photo

Few have left Altoona and rubbed the elbows of famous entertainment and sports stars more than TJ Jefferson.

The 1990 graduate of Altoona Area High School is an integral part of the Rich Eisen Show, a sports program that airs for three hours each weekday from Los Angeles on the Peacock Network, NBC Sports and YouTube.

Through his relationships and personality, Jefferson has networked his way onto a national stage.

He counts Hollywood icons Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama among his best friends.

He lived with both of them and spent 20 years in Los Angeles, where he began working in a talent agency and then moving into film and television production before working as a “Bridge” between his famous friends and their agents and managers.

Photo courtesy TJ Jefferson attended Michael Jordan’s golf tournament in 2012 and drove him around.

“I am very grateful to these two” Jefferson, 48, said. “I don’t know I would still be out here if it weren’t for them. In various places both were my landlords and employed me. You helped me support me. “

As kutchers “Assistant” Jefferson would do it for almost five years (2001-05) “Jobs around the house (in Beverly Hills), but it never felt like work because we were friends and I lived there.”

He helped with everything, provided transportation and served as a liaison for various projects, such as installing lights on the property’s basketball and tennis courts.

“I traveled around the world with him” Said Jefferson.

Michael Jordan hosted an annual golf tournament and invited Kutcher, who wasn’t playing. But he left anyway and brought Jefferson, whose outfit and Air Jordan shoes caught the attention of the ex-NBA superstar.

One of Jefferson’s favorite photos is driving a golf cart with Jordan as the passenger. One evening he was also in a bar with two famous hockey players on either side – Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky.

“I am sorry I did not get this picture” Said Jefferson.

Jefferson is the godfather of Kutcher’s daughter.

In fact, Kutcher and his then-wife Demi Moore were driving across the country in the winter of 2010 when Jefferson received a call from Kutcher.

“He said, ‘Bro, is your mother home? I’m going to Altoona to meet her, ”Jefferson said.

Linda Jefferson and her local friends loved it.

“I am very proud of him” she said the other day. “He was determined to get out of Altoona and make something of himself.”

Jefferson studied journalism at Point Park University and was a manager on the school’s basketball team before joining the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in marketing.

He bragged about Altoona every step of the way.

Former Point Park roommate and close friend Paul Zeise, a PG columnist and host of a sports talk show in Pittsburgh, said, “TJ was and is a sports contest waiting to happen and one of the three funniest people ever! I’ve ever met He never forgot where he came from because he thinks Johnny Moore, Doug West, Mike Iuzzolino, Dan Fortson and Steve Taneyhill are the five greatest basketball players of all time.

“I’m not at all shocked by his success because he’s more talented than anyone I’ve seen in this business in 25 years.”

Doug Pfeffer was with Jefferson in The Mountain Echo at Altoona Area High School.

“I met him in ninth grade with Keith and we stayed friends through high school.” Said pepper. “He had a passion and I could tell that he was a great writer and storyteller. He was a quiet boy in high school, and I think he came out of his shell. “

When his mother took him to the grocery store as a teenager, she often found her son hanging on the newspaper rack.

“He likes to talk and likes to read” Linda Jefferson said. “He is a good boy. He never got in trouble at school or gave me trouble. “

Jefferson’s grandfather James Pearson introduced him to pro wrestling and took him to the Jaffa Shrine Center. In addition to boxing, soccer, sports in general, and pop culture, he specializes in the WWE.

Jefferson started out with Eisen in a behind-the-scenes role as a social media producer in 2018. He promoted the program on Twitter and Instagram – @toojiggy is his handle – and met and prepared guests before their performance.

Last August, he was offered an expanded role – this on camera – and he’s made a smooth transition.

“TJ just excelled – not just his ideas, but his initiative and desire, and his personality is just contagious to be here.” Eisen, a former ESPN anchor who was the first to join the NFL network, said. “There was no doubt that our producer among us was the right choice. He has such a perspective that I don’t have. “

Despite not being a golfer, Jefferson opened the show with a 15-foot putt in the studio.

“I don’t really like exercise, but I watch every day … to see if he does his putt” Linda Jefferson said. “My brother, his uncle (Lee Pearson) just says, ‘I can’t believe he’s on TV.’ ‘

Jefferson is often the first on Iron’s crew, which includes Chris Brockman and Mike Del Tufo, to greet interview subjects.

“He met everyone and he knows everyone” Said iron. “He’s like the Forrest Gump on our show. It gives everything a great taste. He really is a special person and I couldn’t be more excited to work with. “

Due to the coronavirus, this is the first year that Eisen and his friends haven’t made their show live from the Super Bowl.

Still, Jefferson is pinching his luck.

“I came here with no expectations and it has been 20 years.” he said. “I met so many celebrities and it was so much fun. I have really been blessed. “

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