Sebastian Telfair

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Sebastian Telfair
Telfair 08.07.07.JPG
Telfair holding his new Timberwolves jersey during his first stint with them in 2007
Personal information
Born (1985-06-09) June 9, 1985 (age 33)
Brooklyn, New York
Listed height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Listed weight167 lb (76 kg)
Career information
High schoolAbraham Lincoln
(Brooklyn, New York)
NBA draft2004 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall
Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers
Playing career2004–2017
PositionPoint guard
Career history
20042006Portland Trail Blazers
2006–2007Boston Celtics
20072009Minnesota Timberwolves
2009–2010Los Angeles Clippers
2010Cleveland Cavaliers
2010–2011Minnesota Timberwolves
20112013Phoenix Suns
2013Toronto Raptors
2013–2014Tianjin Ronggang
2014Oklahoma City Thunder
2014–2015Xinjiang Flying Tigers
2016–2017Fujian Sturgeons
Career highlights and awards
Stats at

Sebastian Telfair (born June 9, 1985) is a retired American professional basketball player who last played for the Fujian Sturgeons of the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA). Telfair was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers out of Abraham Lincoln High School. He had committed to the University of Louisville and head coach Rick Pitino during his senior year, but decided to turn professional instead.[1][2] Telfair is the cousin of former NBA player Stephon Marbury.[3]

Early years[edit]

Telfair was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Erica Telfair and Otis Telfair, a Marine who served in Vietnam.[4] Living in the Surfside Gardens projects he attended Abraham Lincoln High School and became one of the most highly coveted high school basketball prospects in the country.[5]

Considered a five-star recruit by, Telfair was listed as the No. 2 point guard and the No. 6 player in the nation in 2004.[6] He had originally committed to the University of Louisville. He changed his mind and went pro, however, after a fatal shooting occurred at the apartment complex where his family lived.

NBA career[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

Telfair was selected by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA draft. 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.[7] In February 2005, interim coach Kevin Pritchard promoted Telfair to the starting lineup. Telfair averaged 6.8 points and 3.3 assists and the Trail Blazers ultimately lost 23 of their final 28 games while finishing with the team's worst record since 1973–74.

Under new head coach Nate McMillan, 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[by whom?] 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 already eliminated from playoff contention, Telfair scored the winning basket against the Houston Rockets on April 5, 2006.

Boston Celtics[edit]

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.[8][9]

Minnesota Timberwolves[edit]

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.[10] He was given the # 3 jersey while with Minnesota, the same number that his cousin, Stephon Marbury wore while playing for them.

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.

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.

Los Angeles Clippers[edit]

On July 20, 2009, Telfair was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Craig Smith and Mark Madsen in exchange for Quentin Richardson.[11]

Cleveland Cavaliers[edit]

On February 17, 2010, Telfair was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team, six-player trade that sent Antawn Jamison from the Washington Wizards to Cleveland, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a 2010 first-round pick (which became Lazar Hayward) and the rights to Emir Preldžić from Cleveland to Washington, Drew Gooden from Washington to Los Angeles, and Al Thornton from Los Angeles to Washington.[12]

Return to the Minnesota Timberwolves[edit]

On July 26, 2010, Telfair was traded back to the Minnesota Timberwolves, along with Delonte West, for Ramon Sessions and Ryan Hollins.[13]

Phoenix Suns[edit]

Right after the 2011 NBA lockout ended, Telfair signed with the Phoenix Suns in December 9, 2011.[14] His contract had him initially staying for one year, but he received a team option to play for a second season in Phoenix. Telfair started for the Suns in a 91–87 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers. Telfair would score a season high 21 points in a 105–91 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. During the month of April in the shortened season, Telfair averaged an impressive 10.9 points and 3.6 assists on a .522 shooting percentage. In other months, he averaged 4.7 points and 1.9 assists on a .358 shooting percentage.[15]

Toronto Raptors[edit]

On February 21, 2013, Telfair was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Hamed Haddadi and a second-round pick.[16] He became a free agent in the summer of 2013.

Tianjin Ronggang[edit]

In October 2013, Telfair signed a one-year deal with the Tianjin Ronggang of the Chinese Basketball Association.[17]

Oklahoma City Thunder[edit]

On July 15, 2014, Telfair signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder.[18] On November 26, 2014, he was waived by the Thunder.[19]

Xinjiang Flying Tigers[edit]

On December 2, 2014, Telfair signed with the Xinjiang Flying Tigers for the rest of the 2014–15 CBA season.[20]

Legal issues[edit]

October 2006 robbery incident[edit]

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. Rapper Fabolous was shot outside of the same club shortly afterward.[21] The following night, Telfair left a preseason basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden to observe a police lineup, but he did not identify any of the potential suspects.[22]

2007 handgun incident[edit]

Telfair and a friend, Al Eden Fuentes,[23] were arrested early on April 20, 2007 and charged with felony possession of a weapon, after a traffic stop.[24] 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.[23]

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.[25]

2017 handgun incident[edit]

On June 11, 2017, Telfair and another man were arrested for handgun and controlled substance charges during a traffic stop . During a search of the vehicle, police officers discovered three loaded firearms, one semiautomatic rifle, a ballistic vest, a roach cigar, along with suitcases, clothing, shoes, and furniture pieces. Sebastian was in New York for what was supposed to be only a few hours, in between a residence move and for the opening of basketball courts in the projects he grew up in Coney Island. Telfair helped raise $1 million for basketball courts in the area and donated an additional $50,000 in order for them to be fully renovated. Telfair was subsequently indicted on multiple felony charges of weapons possession. The case was still pending in January 2019, leaving Telfair's guilt, and the legality of the search, to be determined. Telfair was subsequently convicted in April 2019 of the felony charges of weapons possession after a two-week trial. He will later face sentencing of up to 15 years in prison.

Biographical coverage[edit]

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 former NBA and current CBA player 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. Telfair was also named New York State Mr. Basketball following his senior season at Lincoln. His younger brother Ethan Telfair, who was featured in the film, played basketball at Idaho State.[26][27]

NBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

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
2009–10 L.A. Clippers 39 1 14.9 .404 .234 .774 1.1 2.9 .6 .1 4.3
2009–10 Cleveland 4 0 19.3 .457 .222 .833 1.0 3.0 .5 .0 9.8
2010–11 Minnesota 37 8 19.2 .402 .359 .733 1.5 3.0 .7 .1 7.2
2011–12 Phoenix 60 1 14.9 .412 .314 .791 1.5 2.3 .7 .2 6.1
2012–13 Phoenix 46 2 17.3 .381 .381 .772 1.5 2.5 .6 .2 6.0
2012–13 Toronto 13 0 14.2 .290 .270 .833 1.2 3.0 .7 .1 4.3
2014–15 Oklahoma City 16 1 20.4 .368 .300 .706 1.9 2.8 .6 .0 8.4
Career 564 193 21.5 .390 .319 .777 1.6 3.5 .7 .1 7.4


  1. ^ Telfair selects NBA over Louisville - recruiting - ESPN
  2. ^ "Pitino says Telfair will not play at Louisville". (Louisville "edition"). April 6, 2004. Archived from the original on May 22, 2006.
  3. ^ "Sebastian Telfair draft bio".
  4. ^ Ian O'Connor, The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High Stakes Business of High School Ball. [Emmaus, Pa.]: Rodale, 2005. p. 7-16
  5. ^ Ian O'Connor, The Jump: Sebastian Telfair and the High Stakes Business of High School Ball. [Emmaus, Pa.]: Rodale, 2005. p. 2-3
  6. ^ Sebastian Telfair Recruiting Profile
  7. ^ Golden State Warriors 88, Portland Trail Blazers 97
  8. ^ Celtics move toward severing ties with Telfair, news services, published April 25, 2007
  9. ^ SuperSonics fire coach Bob Hill - Orlando Sentinel
  10. ^ Ulman, Howard (July 31, 2007). "Celtics land Garnett in unprecedented 7-for-1 deal". Associated Press. Retrieved July 31, 2007.
  11. ^ "Clippers Acquire Telfair, Smith and Madsen from Minnesota for Richardson". July 20, 2009. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  12. ^ "Wizards Acquire Ilgauskas, Thornton and First-Round Pick In Three-Team Deal". February 17, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  13. ^ "Wolves Trade Sessions to Cavaliers". July 26, 2010. Retrieved July 26, 2010.
  14. ^ Phoenix Suns waive Vince Carter, sign guards Sebastian Telfair, Shannon Brown - ESPN
  15. ^ Sebastian Telfair preparing to build on stellar final month
  16. ^ Raptors Acquire Telfair From Suns For Haddadi, Pick
  17. ^ Sebastian Telfair signs in China with Tianjin
  18. ^ "Thunder Signs Sebastian Telfair". July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  19. ^ "Thunder Waives Sebastian Telfair". November 26, 2014. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  20. ^ Sebastian Telfair heads to Xinjiang
  21. ^ "Police investigating Telfair in connection with shooting". October 19, 2006. Retrieved October 19, 2006.
  22. ^ "Telfair fails to spot chain-ripping thief in police lineup". October 18, 2006. Retrieved October 18, 2006.
  23. ^ a b "Celtics guard Telfair arrested in NY on gun charge". April 20, 2007.
  24. ^ Lee, Greg (April 20, 2007). "Telfair arrested".
  25. ^ Zgoda, Jerry (October 15, 2008). "NBA hands Telfair a three-game suspension". Star Tribune. Archived from the original on January 28, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2008.
  26. ^ Prospect Profile: Sebastian Telfair
  27. ^ Lincoln relying on youth to defend dynasty

External links[edit]