Richard Jefferson, the last active player from the New Jersey Nets two Finals teams, has announced he’s retiring from the NBA. Now, according to numerous sources, he will move from the court to the booth and studio, working games for both the YES Network and ESPN this season.
Jefferson, 38, disclosed that he’s finally leaving the court in an Instagram post Saturday that also celebrated the life of his late father, “Big Rich” who was killed in a drive-by shooting three weeks ago in Compton, California...
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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 played seven years with the Nets, including the two Finals teams in 2002 and 2003. He averaged 17.4 points and 5.4 rebounds over the course of his Nets career. His best season was 2007-08, his final year in New Jersey, putting up 22.6 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He also played 78 playoff games for the Nets, averaging 15.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
In addition to his two years with the Eastern Conference champs, RJ was also one of the Nets “Big Three” along with Jason Kidd and Vince Carter. VC of course is still playing at 41.
In talking to the New York Post in September, Jefferson said “I’m a basketball player until I am not a basketball player, My goal is to play basketball this season.” But with training camps over around the league and Opening Night less than a week away, Jefferson knew it was time.
According to sources, Jefferson will join the YES Network team, doing both color and studio work for Brooklyn Nets games. One source tells NetsDaily he will help call 20 or so games from the booth and a smaller number as a studio analyst. He will also work NBA games for ESPN.
Overall, Jefferson is fourth all-time in minutes played as a Net, behind only Buck Williams, Kidd and Brook Lopez. He’s also fourth in total points scored with 8,507, behind Lopez, Williams and Carter. He was recently named the eighth best Nets player ever.
Jefferson also played with Milwaukee, San Antonio, Golden State, Utah, Dallas, Cleveland and Denver over the course of his 17-year career. He went to his third NBA Finals in 2016, this time winning a ring with the Cavaliers. He earned an estimated $116 million from his NBA contracts alone over the course of his career.