Slam Dunk Contest Champ Jason Richardson Retires From NBA

After a 14-year NBA career filled with highlight reel-worthy dunks, Jason Richardson is hanging it up. The veteran announced his retirement Wednesday via his Instagram account.

“Today is a bittersweet moment for me. I’m officially announcing my retirement from pro basketball,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’d 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!”

Jason Richardson NBA Slam Dunk Contest Reebok 2002
Jason Richardson in Reebok X-Beams.
CREDIT: Getty.

The guard was the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft by the Golden State Warriors, a team he played on for six seasons before being traded to the Charlotte Bobcats (now known as the Hornets). Richardson also had stints with the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.

Although Richardson was a solid player on the court, he was best known for his rim-rattling dunks in the 2002 and 2003 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He’s one of three players in the contest’s history to win in back-to-back years and the first to achieve the feat since Michael Jordan did it in 1987 and 1988.

Wearing Reebok X-Beams, Richardson received a perfect score on a first-round dunk in the 2002 contest, replicating the classic windmill dunk of Dominique Wilkins from the 1990 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. Richardson wore Reebok Above The Rims for the 2003 contest, earning perfect scores on his first dunk (another electrifying windmill jam) and his last dunk, putting the ball between his legs before throwing it down in reverse.

Throughout his career, Richardson wore the top basketball shoes of the time on the court, including the Nike Hyperize, which adorned his feet while throwing down dunks playing for the Suns. After a stint in Nikes, Richardson received his own signature shoe from China-based shoe brand Peak, the Team JR 1.

Richardson retires averaging 17.1 points, 5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Jason Richardson Nike Hyperize
Jason Richardson in the Nike Hyperize.
CREDIT: Getty.

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