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Thunder guard Sebastian Telfair -- from NYC to OKC

by Erik Horne Published: July 3, 2014
Sebastian Telfair, left, played in the 2004 McDonald's All-American game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Staff photo by Nate Billings.
Sebastian Telfair, left, played in the 2004 McDonald's All-American game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. Staff photo by Nate Billings.

Sebastian Telfair has come a long way since his high school phenom days in New York City.

The newest addition to the Thunder backcourt was the No. 1 prep recruit in the country in 2004 out of Lincoln High School in Brooklyn (the same school that produced his cousin, Stephon Marbury, and current Indiana Pacers guard/LeBron James nemesis Lance Stevenson). Besides James, Telfair was arguably the most hyped high school recruit of all-time — the subject of his own documentary his senior year in at Lincoln.

But after being selected in the first round of the NBA Draft in 2004 (13th overall), Telfair’s career has been up and down. He’s played on seven different NBA teams since being drafted, and last played for Tianjin Ronggang of China. In that stretch, he’s never had an opportunity to contribute to a legitimate contender (Telfair’s played on one winning team in nine NBA seasons — the 2009-10 Cleveland Cavaliers. He played in four games).

Until now.


Telfair getting his physical with the Thunder


Telfair and Co. at The Colcord hotel


In 2013, Slam Magazine wrote a piece catching up with Telfair, asking him about the reputation he had to live up to as a brash McDonald’s All-American who once told future NBA All-Stars Dwight Howard, Al Jefferson and Josh Smith “If you ain’t from New York, you from the country.” That was the same year Telfair and a who’s-who of NBA talent (check out this absurd list) played in the McDonald’s All-American game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City.

The past 10 years haven’t lived up to the legend “Bassy” built up in NYC high school ball, where he was rubbing shoulders with Jay Z and gracing the covers of every basketball magazine in the country. From Slam:

“There’s no middle ground for me: You’re either an All-Star, or you’re nothing,” he says. “Some people would cave to that. But I’m out here playing basketball every night for nine years. I’m in the NBA right now. You know what I’m saying? My personal goals, I’m still chasing. But I’m playing in the NBA. I’m still here. My story is definitely not over.”

We shouldn’t jump to any conclusions and think Telfair will offer much more than some third point guard help behind Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson. But it’ll be interesting to see what he can contribute.

If anything, Telfair is exactly that: interesting.

by Erik Horne
Online Sports Editor
Erik Horne joined The Oklahoman as a sports web editor/producer in September 2013, following a five-year stint at The Ardmoreite (Ardmore) – first as a sports writer, then sports editor. At The Ardmoreite, Horne reported on everything from prep...
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