Richard Allen Jefferson is a professional basketball player from the United States of America and plays as a small forward. Born to Christian missionaries, Jefferson had a nomadic childhood and attended high school in Arizona. While attending the Moon Valley High School, Jefferson helped the team win the 1998 4A State Championship title.
Jefferson went on to play collegiate basketball at the University of Arizona until 2001. At the 2001 NBA Draft, Jefferson was picked at 13th overall by the Houston Rockets and on the same day, was traded out to the New Jersey Nets.
For the next seven years, Jefferson played as a part of the roster at the Nets and in 2002 & 2003, was a key element to their Eastern Conference title winning runs. Being called up to the Slam Dunk Contest in 2003, Jefferson would also receive the honour of being a part of the American national basketball team for the 2004 Summer Olympics.
Initially playing as a back-up for Keith Van Horn, Jefferson became an able replacement to Van Horn and the latter’s dispute with Kenyon Martin hastened his departure as the Nets already had a replacement. Jefferson’s career just took off and in 2004-05, he was scoring at 22.2 points per game when he tore his left wrist ligament. Before and after the injury-hit season, Jefferson was quite stable as a small forward, improving his mid- and long-range game. In the middle of the 2004 season, Jefferson signed a 6-year, $78 million contract extension.
In 2007-08, Jefferson would go on to record his best performance till date. Starting all 82 games in regular season, Jefferson was scoring at 22.6 points per game, another career high. At the end of the season, Jefferson was traded out to the Milwaukee Bucks where he played one season, scoring at 19.6 points per game with a career-high 39.7% success rate from beyond the arc.
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