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Richard Jefferson will always be considered royalty in Cleveland for the roles he played, on and off the court, in the Cavaliers’ NBA championship season of 2016.
Saturday, Jefferson announced his decision to “move on from basketball” in a straight-from-the-heart post on his Instagram account about his father, who as killed in a drive-by shooting in Compton last month.
View this post on Instagram
Well here’s my first post! 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. This video was taken after he bbq’d for about 20 people, something he would do a few times every summer. All I would do is tell people that I was having people over to my house and the next question was “Is Big Rich on the grill?” 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. Until next time!!!! #RIPPLAYAPLAYA #tripleOG PAPA REALLY WAS A ROLLING STONE!!! ??✊?
The 38-year-old Jefferson actually retired after he and the Cavaliers’ ended Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought by their history-making run to the 2016 NBA title. Jefferson and his teammates became the first team in league history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win in the Finals, doing so in Game 7 on the road against Golden State.
However, at the urging of his teammates and the Cleveland fans, Jefferson came back, playing the 2016-17 season with the Cavaliers. He was traded to Atlanta on Oct. 13, 2017. The Hawks waived the veteran forward and three days later, he signed with the Denver Nuggets.
Jefferson appeared in only 20 games for the Nuggets last season, averaging 1.5 points in 8.2 minutes.
For his career, Jefferson averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 29.0 minutes in 1,181 games (809 starts), shooting 46.4 percent from the field, 37.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc and 76.8 percent from the free-throw line. He played 17 NBA seasons.
The 6-foot-7, 233-pound Jefferson was the 13th overall selection in the 2001 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets out of the University of Arizona and immediately traded with Brandon Armstrong and Jason Collins to the New Jersey Nets for Eddie Griffin.
Jefferson spent time in his career with the Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks, the San Antonio Spurs, the Golden State Warriors, the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks before finishing his career with Cleveland and then Denver.