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May 26, 2020, 6:35:00 AM

Jason Richardson Talks About Choosing His Sport

Jason Richardson is one of the most underrated players in the history of the NBA. He has been consistent since he began and until he finished his career. However, Richardson revealed that the NBA wasn’t exactly his first choice, and looks at the decisions he made to reach the league.

Richardson is a 14-year NBA veteran. He won the Slam Dunk Contest twice in his NBA career, which made him a big hit in the league. However, he claimed that he did not love the NBA at first and was distracted by other sports in the United States.

Growing up, he played a lot of different sports. He even loved ice hockey as his favourite sport when he was a kid. He was a big fan, but then he moved on and stopped playing the game.

‘Well, I was growing up in Michigan, so you had to be a hockey fan. The Red Wings were winning all the time’, said Richardson. ‘They were winning the Stanley Cup all the time, and everybody in Michigan plays hockey because all the ponds freeze over around there. A group of friends of mine would always go to rummage sales and buy different sports equipment just to try the sport out’.

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Richardson played with golf clubs, baseball bats, and even decided to pick up some hockey gear. He learned how to skate better year after year and eventually got better. He and his friends later started playing on travel teams before he reached the eighth grade.

His feet got too big for the skates, and it was very hard to come by with a custom set of hockey skates. He was forced to quit the sport. In high school, he competed in basketball, track and football. As much as he liked football, he believed that he wouldn’t be able to play that much.

‘No, I wouldn’t have made it to the NFL. I just like football. Like I said, I love every sport and I was a multiple-sport athlete. Back then, that’s what everybody did – you tried to be all-state in as many sports as possible’, Richardson explained. ‘I played wide receiver, defensive end and a little bit of quarterback. But I knew that basketball was always my first love and that’s what I really wanted to do – after I had to give my hockey dreams up’.

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Richardson didn’t realise his talent enough, and he didn’t even bother to be proud of it.

When he reached college, it was there when he knew he had a chance to be an NBA player. He played against the USA’s Dream Team II, which featured Vince Carter, Ray Allen, Alonzo Mourning, Vin Baker, Jason Kidd, and more of those guys back in their prime.

He remembered when he had a game against the same guys in Hawaii and he played well. He seemed to have thought of being a player back in his neighbourhood, but with many athletic players in their place, it was impossible.

He also reflected on his friend Charles Rogers, who passed away in November. He had these people around him who inspired him to be a better person for himself and his future. It turned out to be the best for him as he enjoyed a fruitful career.

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Words: Paul Daniel Flores

Image: PA