Jason Richardson is retiring from basketball, he announced on Instagram on Wednesday. This is surprising given that the guard had signed with the Atlanta Hawks in August, and, less than a week ago, he was quoted saying that he wanted to go out on his own terms.
"Today is a bitter sweet moment for me," Richardson wrote on Instagram. "I'm officially announcing my retirement from pro basketball. 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!"
The 34-year-old spent the last three years with the Philadelphia 76ers, but was only able to appear in 52 games for the franchise because of a knee injury. Richardson's career will be remembered most fondly by Golden State Warriors fans -- he spent his first six seasons in the Bay Area, where he averaged a career-high 23.2 points per game in 2005-06. The next year, he helped the "We Believe" Warriors upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs.
As well as being a great scorer in his prime and 37-percent career 3-point shooter, Richardson is one of the best dunkers in NBA history. During games, in dunk contests, in the warmup line, wherever, he could throw down 360s and windmill dunks with ease and power. He put plenty of people on posters, and he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2002 and 2003.
Richardson could have helped the Hawks this season as more than a veteran mentor if he could have just spaced the floor with his shooting. Given his his persistent knee problems, though, perhaps he just knew he wouldn't be able to stay on the court.