On Wednesday night, former Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns shooting guard Jason Richardson announced his retirement from the NBA via a post on his Instagram account. The news comes less than a week before he was slated to begin training camp with the Atlanta Hawks.
"Today is a bitter sweet moment for me. I'm officially announcing my retirement from pro basketball," Richardson said in the Instagram photo's caption. "I like to thank the organizations and fans in Charlotte, Phoenix, Orlando, Philly and especially The Bay Area for their loyal support the past 14 years. Walking away was the hardest decision I had to make but choosing my health and spending time with my family is more important to me! God bless!"
After skipping most of the 2013-14 season because of knee and foot injuries, "J-Rich" appeared in just 19 games for the Philadelphia Sixers last season. The 34-year-old veteran ends his 13-year career after playing in only 52 games over the past three seasons due to injury.
Last month, he signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Atlanta Hawks but it is now apparent that he will not be playing for his sixth different NBA team.
Richardson told Yahoo Sports that he has been experiencing knee pain since last week and an MRI test on Monday revealed bone spurs in his knee. He said that the decision to retire is his own and that he do not want the injury to be debilitating.
His career began when the Golden State Warriors chose him as the fifth overall pick for the NBA draft in 2001. J-Rich delivered an average of 18.3 points with the Warriors from 2001 to 2007, which included a career-high of 23.2 points in the 2005-06 season. He subsequently joined the Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers since then.
Richardson scored a total of 14,644 points during his NBA stint, but he believes that fans will remember him most for his dunking that included his distinctive "windmill 360-degree slam."
While Richardson's professional basketball career has concluded, it will just begin for some players in the Atlanta Hawks' new roster. With only one remaining roster spot available for the 2015-2016 season, there will be intense competition once training camp begins.
Apart from Richardson, the Hawks have invited Lamar Patterson, Terran Petteway, DeQuan Jones, Jon Horford and Edgar Sosa to training camp, all of them have inked non-guaranteed deals. Jonathan Savitske of Hawks-focused site ATLAllDay.com shared a detailed analysis of the team's dilemma.
He initially thought that it will all come down to Richardson and Patterson. But with the former out of the picture, the 24-year-old small forward, who has improved over the past year according to Savitske, will likely occupy the final spot.