Richard Jefferson is a popular American NBA basketball player who plays at the forward position and has represented the United States of America in several international sporting events. He played for ‘all-state’ as a sophomore at Moon Valley High School in Phoenix and as an ‘all-American’ as a senior. He subsequently played for the University of Arizona. His career as a professional basketball player started with his draft by Houston as an ‘extra’ - small forward for ‘Keith Van Horn’. During his seven seasons with the New Jersey Nets, he became one of the best small forwards in the National Basketball Association. His potential, presence on the court, defensive skills and all-round ability cemented his position as one of the key mid and long-range shooters of the team. He was also a member of the USA Men’s Olympic basketball team which competed in Athens, Greece. While playing for the ‘Milwaukee Bucks’ and the ‘San Antonio Spurs’, he enjoyed tremendous professional success. Although he missed a few games in the middle of his career due to injuries and surgeries, he bounced back with renewed vigour and turned his career around with stellar performances. He currently plays for Utah Jazz.
Childhood & Early Life
Richard Jefferson was born in Los Angeles to Meekness LeCato, a single mother. When he was young, he often joined his mother and stepfather, who served as a Christian missionary in Africa, taking clothes for the less fortunate or paying their school fees.
Although he did not like schoolwork, he was an important player in the basketball team at Moon Valley High School, which won the State Championship in 1998.
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At College, Jefferson helped Arizona reach the NCAA Tournament three times, where he averaged 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Owing to his spectacular performances, he was selected in the All-Pac-10 Freshman Team in the 1998-1999 seasons.
Between 2001 and 2008, he played approximately 489 games for New Jersey - his highest average was 22.6 points (between 2007 and 2008).
In December 2007, he surpassed Kerry Kittles to become the New Jersey Nets’ second all-time leading scorer. During this period, he missed several games due to a sprained left ankle for which he underwent a surgery.
He played 82 games for Milwaukee between 2008 and 2009, averaging 19.6 points - the highlight of his association with Milwaukee was his 500th career game versus Boston, with a season high of 35 points.
Between 2009 and 2011, he played 162 games for San Antonio and scored in double figures 104 times. During his stint with San Antonio, he set a season high of 28 points in 34 minutes.
Between 2011 and 2012, he appeared in 41 games for the Spurs and 22 games for the Warriors, averaging 9.2 points. He tied for 12th rank in the NBA due to a superb three-point percentage.
Awards & Achievements
This versatile player is the only Golden State Warrior with an Olympic medal - he was part of Team USA in the 2004 Olympics in Athens that won a bronze.
Jefferson was inducted into the ‘Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor’, in March 2012.
Personal Life & Legacy
In August 2007, he donated $3.5 million to University of Arizona for basketball/volleyball practice facility, which was later, named after him. This is the most generous donation ever in the history of the university.
In 2009, Jefferson called off his marriage with his dancer fianc�e, Kesha Ni'cole Nichols, just a few hours before the marriage.
When he was 14 years old, this basketball player recorded a positive confession hoping to make it to ‘all-state’ by sophomore year and to the ‘all-American’ category by senior year. He credits his success to his confession right before he went to bed and it happened.