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Sebastian Telfair (born June 9, 1985 in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker) is an Americanmarker professional basketball player for the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers. Telfair was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers out of Abraham Lincoln High Schoolmarker. He had committed to the University of Louisvillemarker and coach Rick Pitino during his senior year, but decided to turn professional instead.

NBA career

2004–05

On January 1, 2005, Telfair scored 14 points on five-for-eleven shooting, making four of five free throws to go with five rebounds and five assists with one turnover.

In February 2005, interim coach Kevin Pritchard promoted Telfair to the starting lineup. Although Telfair put up decent numbers, the Trail Blazers lost 23 of their final 28 games and finished with the team's worst record since 1975.

Telfair wore number 31 with the Trail Blazers, as he did in high school. It serves as a reminder of where he came from, growing up on 31st Street in Coney Islandmarker, New York.

2005–06

Under new head coach Nate McMillan (already Telfair's third NBA head coach), Telfair began the 2005–06 season as the starting point guard. He was occasionally paired in the backcourt with another high school draftee taken in 2005, Martell Webster. Telfair's production was an improvement over his 2004–05 numbers, but it was still considered below par for an NBA starting point guard. As a result, he experienced increasing pressure from the Portland media. In December 2005, Telfair suffered a thumb injury and was replaced in the starting lineup by Steve Blake. Blake had fewer turnovers and more assists. Telfair returned to the court on January 9, 2006, after missing 12 games. Blake continued to start with Telfair coming off the bench. Although the Trail Blazers were eliminated from playoff contention, Telfair scored the winning basket against the Houston Rockets on April 5, 2006.

2006–07

On June 28, 2006, the Trail Blazers traded Telfair along with center Theo Ratliff and a 2008 second-round pick to the Boston Celtics for guard Dan Dickau, center-forward Raef LaFrentz, and the 7th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, Randy Foye, who was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the 6th overall pick, Brandon Roy. Telfair wore number 30, as his traditional number 31 was retired by the Celtics.

On April 24, 2007 Celtics managing partner Wyc Grousbeck announced that Telfair's nameplate on his Celtics locker had been removed and did not expect him back for the 2007–08 season.

2007–08

On June 8, 2007, Danny Ainge stated that it was still possible Telfair would remain a Celtic.However, on July 31, 2007 the Celtics traded Telfair, along with Al Jefferson, Gerald Green, Ryan Gomes, Theo Ratliff, and two first-round draft picks, to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Garnett.In the 2007–08 season, Telfair had his best season as a pro averaging 9.3 ppg and 5.9 apg. Telfair also had a stretch of five games in which he had 40 assists and just 4 turnovers. He wore number 3 for the Timberwolves because the number 31 was taken by then shooting guard Ricky Davis.

2008–09

On July 22, 2008 the Minnesota Timberwolves re-signed Telfair to a three-year contract. Because the Timberwolves fired head coach Randy Wittman and replaced him with interim coach Kevin McHale, Telfair played for his sixth coach in his fifth NBA season. He played in 75 games including 43 starts.

2009–10

On July 20, 2009, Telfair was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Craig Smith and Mark Madsen in exchange for Quentin Richardson. He will wear the number 3, as he did with the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is believed that he will come off the bench for expected starting point guard Baron Davis. By playing under Clippers head coach and GM Mike Dunleavy, Sr., Telfair will have played for his seventh NBA coach in six seasons.

Legal issues

October 2006 robbery incident

On October 16, 2006, Telfair had a chain reported to be worth $50,000 snatched from him while he was outside Sean "Diddy" Combs' restaurant, Justin's. The following night, Telfair left a preseason basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Gardenmarker to attend a police lineup, where he did not make any identification.

A rumor began to circulate that he was seen making a phone call roughly an hour before rapper Fabolous was shot outside of the same club. Telfair voluntarily surrendered his cell phone records to police, and is not under investigation for any involvement, despite rumors to the contrary. It was later found that the chain belonged to Geonne Telfair, Telfair's younger sibling, and Telfair was reimbursed for the stolen property.

2007 handgun incident

Telfair and a friend, Al Eden Fuentes, were arrested early on April 20, 2007 and charged with felony possession of a weapon, after a traffic stop. The traffic stop was prompted when Telfair was spotted driving his 2006 Range Rover 77 mph on the Bronx River Parkway, a 45 mph zone. Telfair was driving under a suspended Florida license. When the police searched Telfair's vehicle, a loaded .45 caliber handgun was found under the passenger's seat. Both Telfair and Eden claimed to not have any knowledge of the handgun. Police had yet to determine the registration status of the handgun.

In September 2008, Telfair pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and received three years probation. In October 2008, the NBA handed down a three-game suspension following the guilty plea.

Biographical coverage

Telfair is the subject of the book The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High-Stakes Business of High School Ball (ISBN 1594864470) by Ian O'Connor, and Through the Fire, a documentary film by Jonathan Hock which follows Telfair through his last year in high school and his decision to choose the NBA over college. Telfair is the cousin of free agent guard Stephon Marbury, and the half-brother of former NBA player Jamel Thomas. Telfair went to high school at Lincoln High School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, New York City, and was the school's all-time leading scorer until Lance Stephenson broke his record in 2009.

NBA career statistics

Regular season

2004–05
Portland
68 26 19.6 .393 .246 .789 1.5 3.3 .5 .1 6.8
2005–06
Portland
68 30 24.1 .394 .352 .743 1.8 3.6 1.0 .1 9.5
2006–07
Boston
78 30 20.2 .371 .289 .818 1.4 2.8 .6 .1 6.1
2007–08
Minnesota
60 51 32.2 .401 .281 .743 2.3 5.9 1.0 .2 9.3
2008–09
Minnesota
75 43 27.9 .383 .346 .819 1.7 4.6 1.0 .2 9.8
Career
349 180 24.6 .389 .316 .782 1.7 4.0 .8 .1 8.2

References

  1. Celtics move toward severing ties with Telfair, ESPN.com news services, published April 25, 2007
  2. Door open for Telfair: Ainge says guard may stay with C's
  3. Prospect Profile: Sebastian Telfair


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