Richard Jefferson is one of the greatest Arizona Wildcats in team history, as well as an example of how successful the program has been at churning out NBA players.
And after a 17-year career, RJ is calling it quits. The 6-foot-7 small forward made it official on Saturday via an Instagram post in which he also spoke of the tragic death of his father in a drive-by shooting last month.
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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!!! ✊
Jefferson, 38, played for eight teams in his NBA career. His longest tenure was with the team that drafted him, the New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets, who took him 13th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft and had his services for 489 games from 2001-08.
The Nets traded Jefferson to Milwaukee in 2008 and a year later he was traded to San Antonio. The Spurs dealt him to Golden State in 2012 and a year later he was part of a three-team deal that sent him to Utah.
Jefferson later spent time with Dallas, Cleveland and Denver, winning an NBA title with the Cavaliers in 2015-16 alongside fellow Arizona alum Channing Frye.
Over 1,181 career games, including 809 starts, Jefferson averaged 12.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists on 46.4 percent shooting. He earned more than $116 million in salary.
Jefferson played three seasons at Arizona, averaging 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists from 1998-2001. He was part of the Wildcat team that reached the 2011 NCAA title game, chipping in 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists in the loss to Duke.