The Rise And Downfall Of Sebastian Telfair – From High School Prodigy To NBA Bust To Prison

Photo Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

The Rise And Downfall Of Sebastian Telfair – From High School Prodigy To NBA Bust To Prison


Sebastian Telfair, once a five-star recruit, the no. 2 point guard and no. 6 player in the nation, who skipped college and went to the NBA straight out of high school, never managed to live up to his potential in the league and ended up in prison after his career.

This past August, Sebastian Telfair was sentenced to three and a half years in prison, after he was convicted of felony criminal possession of a weapon by a jury, earlier that year.

In June of 2017, New York City police stopped Telfair at 2:50 a.m. finding a lit joint, three loaded handguns, a semiautomatic rifle, ammunition, and a ballistic vest.

It was not the first time in Telfair’s career, that he got into trouble because of his guns. He was fined by the Blazers in 2006, for having a loaded gun hidden in a pillow case on the team’s private plane. Then, during his time in Boston, he was cut from the team him after police had stopped him with a loaded gun in his car. Back then, he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to three years of probation.

But it all looked so much more promising when Telfair was in his teenage years. ‘The King of Coney Island’ was a high school phenom, who attracted celebrities like Jay-Z and Derek Jeter to come and watch his high school games. His incredible speed, his street ball type of play, and his attitude had him become one of the most highly lauded and coveted high school basketball prospects in the country.

Telfair even was part of the now famous SLAM magazine cover with LeBron James.




After finishing high school, Telfair had already committed to the University of Louisville, but decided to turn pro instead. Living in Surfside Gardens, one of the most dangerous areas in New York City, Telfair needed instant money to get his family out of there, after two of his friends had been killed in the elevator of the apartment building he was living in.

After declaring for the 2004 NBA Draft, Telfair got the money he was in need of by signing a sneaker contract with Adidas, worth $10 million, over five years.

In the Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers acquired his talents with the 13th pick of the 1st round. Unfortunately his talents, also due to his height, didn’t translate to the NBA, where everybody was faster, stronger and better than the high school competition he had previously faced. Being an undersized guard with bad shooting and even worse defense didn’t exactly help his case. This, and the already mentioned legal troubles, led to Telfair becoming somewhat of a journeyman in the NBA, who never became more than just a role player.

After 10 seasons in the league, playing for the Blazers, Celtics, Wolves, Clippers, Cavs, Suns, Raptors and Thunder, as well as a couple of seasons abroad in China, he called it a career.

Then, after retiring, Telfair’s life took a turn for the worse. Even though he made over $90 million over the course of his career, he was in debt shortly after his career had ended. Now, as mentioned in the beginning, he is a convicted felon. To make things even worse, Telfair recently tragically lost his mother and brother, who died due to the coronavirus.

His life really is one crazy rollercoaster ride and has seen it all. We can only hope that better days will be in store for Sebastian Telfair, and that he manages to get his life back on track.

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