Richard Jefferson has decided that it’s time for him to “move on from basketball”. He made this announcement in an Instagram post on Saturday. The post largely served as a dedication to his father, who died in September. Jefferson played a total of 17 seasons in the NBA and won a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016. He was a key player off the bench. The 38-year-old averaged 8.2 minutes per game in 20 appearances with the Denver Nuggets last season and has also played for the Nets, Bucks, Spurs, Warriors, Jazz, and Mavericks.
While not intentional, my posts as of late have centered a lot around player retirements. Perhaps this is what comes out in the offseason. But in all cases, these players have had several great years in the respective sports. Jefferson is 38, and as mentioned, has played with a number of NBA teams in his career. Part of the reason for his retirement has to do with the fact that his father died in a drive-by shooting back in September. Jefferson wrote the following:
“In the last month, I’ve dealt with two life-changing events back to back. My decision to move on from basketball and the tragic passing of Big Rich. The support of my family and friends have been huge.”
While those are two huge events, it seems that one lead to the other. Perhaps he had been thinking about retirement in the last couple of years, but it wasn’t until this event that he decided it was time. After becoming a key part of the Cleveland Cavaliers rotation during a title run, he was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in a salary dump last October. After being waived by Atlanta, he decided to continue playing and signed with the Denver Nuggets. He appeared in 20 games sporadically throughout the regular season, averaging just 1.5 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 8.2 minutes per game. With Denver battling for a playoff spot down to the wire, Jefferson did not appear in any of the Nuggets’ final 10 regular-season games and logged just 25 total minutes in March.
Jefferson was the 13th draft pick overall in the 2001 draft. He spent the first seven years of his career with the New Jersey Nets – helping them to reach back-to-back NBA Finals during his first two seasons. He didn’t get another shot at a ring until joining the Cavaliers in 2016. That said, during those 13 years between titles, he tied the NBA record for most seasons between Final appearances by a player.
Over the last few years, Jefferson hasn’t been able to drop 20 points on a nightly basis, like he once did. Again – this is something that happens to players as they start to age in their careers. They still have the skill and the talent, but, unless you’re LeBron, you’re probably not going to be able to take those hits and make those baskets the way that they once did. Jefferson wasn’t necessarily a big name in the NBA, but he was a staple and he did a lot during his career. He can enjoy his retirement knowing that he put together a solid career and has a ring to show for it. What Jefferson will do with his second career, remains to be seen, but we wish him all the best.