Jefferson retires from NBA, pays tribute to father

Richard Jefferson played in 1,181 NBA games over his 17-year career. (AFP pic)

DENVER: Richard Jefferson, who played 17 years in the NBA, has officially retired. Planning to pursue a career in broadcast journalism, the small forward announced on Saturday on Instagram that he has made the decision to “move on from basketball”. He also offered a tribute to his late father.

According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Richard Jefferson Sr., 65, was killed in a drive-by shooting on September 19 in Compton, California. He was known as “Big Rich”.

The 38-year-old Jefferson, a member of the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, played 20 games with the Denver Nuggets last season, averaging just 1.5 points in 8.2 points per game. He previously played for the then-New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, and Dallas Mavericks. He averaged 12.6 points, four rebounds, and two assists in 1,181 career games, of which he started 809.

On the Instagram post, he wrote: “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.”

The post included a video clip showing Big Rich at a barbecue he hosted for about 20 people, and Jefferson added, “He really was a true OG. I’m going to miss all his one-liners, his cooking and his ability to make a whole room laugh.”

Jefferson was the 13th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets.