David Zalubowski/Associated Press
After toying with the idea of retirement in recent years, Richard Jefferson has decided the time is finally right to call it a career.
The 38-year-old announced Saturday on Instagram that he will not return for an 18th season in the NBA. In the post, Jefferson confirmed his retirement and discussed his father Richard, who was shot and killed in September.
“In the last month I’ve dealt with two life changing events back to back,” Jefferson wrote. “My decision to move on from basketball and the tragic passing of Big Rich. The support of my family and friends have been huge.”
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.
The 13th overall pick in the 2001 draft, the Arizona product spent the first seven years of his career with the New Jersey Nets, helping the team reach back-to-back NBA Finals in his first two seasons. He would not have another shot at a ring until joining the Cavaliers and helping LeBron James deliver a championship to Cleveland in 2016. That 13-year gap tied the NBA record for most seasons between Finals appearances by a player.
The 6’7″ forward suited up for eight franchises during his 17-year career, helping five reach the playoffs. He played in 12 postseasons.
While he was no longer going to drop 20 on a nightly basis the way he once did, he provided teams with a strong veteran presence during the twilight of his career.
Jefferson went through a lot during his career, but he can enjoy retirement knowing he put together a solid career and has a ring to show for it.