Jason Richardson has jumped from team to team during the last few years, but he will always be a Warrior as far as Golden State fans are concerned. He was once known for his acrobatic dunks and electric play-making, but the 14-year veteran has, expectedly, slowed down as of late.
Richardson currently plays for the Philadelphia 76ers and, although he was a starter last season, the decline in his game is evident. He only played in 33 games last season, putting up career-lows for field goal percentage (40.2) and points per game (10.5). Since being traded by the Warriors, Richardson has played for the Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, and Orlando Magic. Although he made the playoffs twice with the Magic, Richardson’s best run in the playoffs was with the Suns in 2010. The Suns lost to the Los Angeles Lakers four games to two in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors made Richardson the fifth overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Although players such as Joe Johnson, Zach Randolph, Gerald Wallace and Tony Parker were drafted later in the first round, the selection of Richardson can’t really be seen as a bad one because improved his game every year and gave fans hope despite the team’s lack of success.
Richardson’s last year as a Warrior was the only year the team made the playoffs. Many fans fondly remember the “We Believe” era of the team, which Richardson played a big part in. In 2007, the Warriors secured the eighth seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, matching up against the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks.
The frantic crowds at Oracle Arena, combined with the performances of Baron Davis, Richardson, and Stephen Jackson, propelled the Warriors past the Mavericks in six games. They eventually went on to lose to Utah Jazz in the second round, the season was still seen as a success for the team.
As important as Richardson was to that playoff team, he was just as important to the fans during his time as a Warrior. Watching a losing team is never fun, but Richardson provided entertainment through his outstanding dunking and scoring abilities. He never made it to an All-Star game, but he represented the Warriors well by winning the 2002 and 2003 Slam Dunk Contests.
Richardson’s dedication to the Warriors fans is another reason why people loved him so much. Before the 2006-07 season (the playoff season), Richardson put together an apology to Warriors fans and paid to have it displayed in the local newspaper. Every player on the team signed the letter and promised to do all they could to make the next season a memorable one.
Warriors fans are known for being among the best in the league, but it is rare to see the players match that enthusiasm and dedication. Jason Richardson was never an All-Star and was never able to turn the Warriors into perennial playoff contenders. Still, his dedication to the game and to the fans remains unmatched. He will always be a fan favorite and his tenure as a Golden State Warrior will always be remembered fondly.