What made him change his mind after signing with the Hawks last month?
Richardson, 34, told Yahoo Sports that an MRI on Monday revealed he had bone spurs in his previously healthy right knee. After talking to his wife, Jackie Paul, on Tuesday, Richardson made the decision to retire on his own.
“I didn’t want to limp the rest of my life,” Richardson told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview. “I still have my whole life in front of me, God willing. I sat alone at a park in Atlanta thinking and no one said anything to me because they didn’t recognize me since I just got there. I talked to my wife for an hour on the phone and then I sat for five hours thinking while listening to music before deciding that retiring was the right thing to do.”
I hoped Richardson had just lost his desire to compete. His deal with Atlanta was unguaranteed, meaning he’d have to prove himself in training camp just make the regular-season roster.
It’s a shame his decision was forced upon him by injury.
But he had a good career – 14 seasons, 14,644 points, back-to-back dunk contest titles. He accomplished far more than most NBA players.
He can also retire knowing the series of injuries that sidelined him two years didn’t keep him out for good. Richardson was probably already on borrowed time. He clearly saw no need to mortgage more of his future for a chance at another year in the league.