Retired NBA Slam Dunk champ Fred Jones talks life after basketball


Pistons v PacersFor some, basketball has been their whole lives and transitioning to a retired player can be exceptionally difficult, but for retired NBA player, Fred Jones, this was fortunately not the case.

“Luckily, basketball wasn’t my whole life. It was a very big part of life, and it helped steer me in certain directions, but faith and family has, by far, been the most important parts of my life,” said Jones, Herald Online reported.

Jones also expressed that two of his biggest challenges have been restoring a sense of normalcy to his home life as being on the road frequently took him away from his family and missing the camaraderie of his teammates, who became like family when they were on the road.

“Basketball has been such a big part of my life for so long and now that it isn’t top priority, adjusting has taken some time. But, retirement came at the right time for me because now I get to spend more time with my wife and raising my 3-year-old son. I’m putting as much energy and effort into my family as I did into basketball, and it is rewarding,” said Jones.

Jones, however, is putting his energy into other things these days as well. He is the Founder and CEO of a virtual community for professional basketball players called Player Population.

Built on the vision of what Fred calls the 3 C’s (communication, commerce and competition), Player Population is an exclusive site where basketball players can feel comfortable instantly sharing information on businesses and charities as well as buy, sell or trade merchandise with fellow players.

“As players we are grouped in our own ‘fraternity.’ With the way social media is evolving, I thought creating Player Population would be an excellent way to build a platform for us to become and stay connected,” Jones noted.

When many athletes retire from a game that has essentially defined them for so long, they struggle to find a place where they can redirect their energy and passion.

fred-jones-2Fortunately, for Fred Jones, he has finally found a way to merge his love for family and his love for basketball.

For him, life after basketball has created a new set of challenges and endeavors that have been just as rewarding as taking that last second jump shot during a championship game.

Jones was the 14th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers. He was drafted by Isiah Thomas.

He played sparingly as a rookie, averaging only 1.2 points per game in 19 appearances while playing behind Reggie Miller.

That scoring average increased to nearly 5 points per game in his second year while appearing in 81 games. He more than doubled his averages during the 2004–05 season (to 10.6 ppg).

In his first start after the incident, Jones scored a career high 31 points against the Orlando Magic, establishing himself as one of the team’s primary scoring weapons.

In 2004 he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, beating out two-time champion Jason Richardson, but has not competed in the contest ever since.

Jones played 7 years in the NBA, for Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Portland TrailBlazers, New York Knicks and LA Clippers.

Jones holds career averages of 7.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 2.3 apg in 24 minutes per game. He appeared in total of 430 NBA games, starting 78 of them.

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