Al Jefferson: Early Life, NBA & Injuries

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Al Jefferson is a former professional basketball player from the United States. He was a high school All-American at Prentiss High School in Mississippi.

After that, he went to college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was selected 15th overall by the Boston Celtics.

Jefferson played 14 seasons in the NBA for the Celtics, Utah Jazz, Minnesota Timberwolves, Charlotte Hornets, and Indiana Pacers, earning third-team All-NBA honors with the Hornets in 2014.

AI Jefferson body
AI Jefferson (Source: wikidata.org)

Want to know more about the NBA player Jefferson? If you, you have come to the right place!

In this article, we have gathered all the information about Al Jefferson, so make sure to read the article to the end. But, before that, have a look at some quick facts about the NBA player.

Quick Facts

Full Name Al Ricardo Jefferson
Known As Big Al
Nickname Big Al
Date of Birth January 4, 1985
Zodiac Capricorn
Birthplace Monticello, Mississippi, US
Nationality American
Ethnicity Black
Religion Christianity
Father’s Name Alvin Randolph
Mother’s Name Laura Jefferson
Age  38 years old
Listed Height 6’10” (2.08 m)
Wingspan 7’3″
Listed Weight 289 lb (131 kg)
Eye Color Brown
Hair Color Black
Build Athletic
Tattoos Yes
Shoe size Not known
Sexual Orientation Straight
Points 14,343 (15.7 ppg)
Rebounds  7,690 (8.4 rpg)
Blocks 1,093 (1.2 bpg)
High School Prentiss High School
Active Since 2004
NBA Draft Round: 1, Pick: 15th overall, 2004 (Selected by the Boston Celtics)
Retired in 2018
Experience 2004 – 2018
Jersey Number  8, 7, 25
Position Center, Power forward
Profession Former basketball player
Achievements
  • 2014 All-NBA Third Team 
  • 2005 NBA All-Rookie Second Team, etc. 
Networth $20 Million
League NBA
Merch Trading Cards
Social Media Facebook, Official Website
Last Update February 2023

Al Jefferson: Early Life & Family

The basketball player, Al Jefferson, was born on January 4, 1985, in Monticello, Mississippi, US. His father’s name is Alvin Randolph. Likewise, his mother’s name is Laura Jefferson. 

Al grew up in the small nearby town of Prentiss, which has a population of only 1,500 people. The Jeffersons were a fixture in Prentiss’ Progress neighborhood, a close-knit, predominantly black neighborhood.

Moreover, it was as if the town was full of his own relatives as his father had 12 siblings and his mother had 11 siblings. 

Growing up Without a Father

Al’s father was killed in a work-related accident. At that time, Al was very young. As a result, the player was forced to grow up without the guidance and discipline that a father figure provides.

Gladys Jefferson, Al’s grandmother, lived on the same property as Jefferson and his mother. Similarly, his several other family members also lived in the nearby town of Progress.

So, Jefferson did have family support. However, Al’s lack of a father in his life allowed him to get into mischief as a child.

The player was very mischievous and loved the attention. He would go to any length to get people to notice him. He enjoyed being the focus of attention which occasionally got him into some trouble.

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Al Jefferson: High School Career

From 2000 to 2004, the player attended Prentiss High School in the nearby town of Prentiss.

After making his varsity debut as a freshman at Prentiss, he quickly rose to become one of the country’s elite players as a junior. As a result, the player attracted the attention of both college coaches across the country and NBA scouts.

Likewise, in his senior year, he averaged 42.6 points, 18 rebounds, and seven blocks per game for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs lost in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88–73, with Jefferson scoring 56 points. 

Further, Al was also rated as the No. 1 center and No. 4 player in the country in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas; however, he chose to enter the NBA straight out of high school.

Al Jefferson: Professional Basketball Career

Al Jefferson played in the NBA for 14 years after being drafted by the Boston Celtics.

Later, he was the returning centerpiece of the Kevin Garnett trade before being traded to Utah for Kosta Koufos and two first-round picks.

Jefferson appeared in 221 games for the Jazz, the most of any of his five NBA teams. During his time with the Jazz, he averaged 18.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Perhaps his best Jazz game came during the Jazz’s stretch run in 2012 when he scored 28 points and grabbed 26 rebounds in 54 minutes of a triple-overtime win over Dallas. The win helped move the Jazz into the playoffs.

Al Jefferson playing basketball
Al Jefferson playing basketball (Source: Facebook)

Derrick Favors said that Jefferson was one of the nicest people he had ever met. When Favors arrived in Utah, Al welcomed him with open arms and took me under his wing. Favors further added that Jefferson was a funny guy and a great guy to learn from.

Major Injuries and Setbacks

Jefferson’s 2005–06 season was widely regarded as a failure, owing primarily to a sequel of ankle injuries and a torn meniscus in his right knee, which restricted him to 59 games.

A CAT scan revealed bone spurs after a Las Vegas Summer League participant complained of lingering pain.

The player had ankle surgery on August 2, 2006, to remove the bone spurs. He also had appendectomy surgery at New England Baptist Hospital on November 8, 2006.

This was prior to the fourth game of the season and the player missed seven games before returning to the lineup on November 22, 2006.

Jefferson was having a career year in 2009, averaging 23.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game through the first 50 games of the season when he suffered a serious right knee injury.

This happened after the player landed awkwardly on one leg in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans. Jefferson claimed he felt a pop in his knee, and the injury caused a complete tear of the ACL, necessitating reconstructive surgery and ending his season.

Further, the player suffered a plantar fasciitis injury during the first game of the Bobcats’ first-round playoff series against the Miami Heat on April 20, 2014, and missed Game 4 as a result.

Moreover, on December 30, 2015, a tear in Al’s right knee’s lateral meniscus was discovered. He was out for six weeks as a result of the injury.

Awards

  • 2014 All-NBA Third Team 
  • 2005 NBA All-Rookie Second Team 

Al Jefferson receiving an award
Jefferson’s Career highlight (Source: Facebook)

  • 2004 First-team Parade All-American 
  • 2004 McDonald’s All-American 
  • 2004 Mississippi Mr. Basketball 

Al Jefferson: Age, Body Measurements, and More

The basketball player, Al Jefferson, was born in the year 1985. Hence, he is 38 years old.

Similarly, his zodiac sign is Aquarius, and he was born in the Ox year according to the Chinese calendar. 

Jefferson stands 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m) tall, weighs 289 lb (131 kg), and plays right-handed. The basketball player’s other body measurements are unfortunately unknown. 

Further, Jefferson has a tattoo carved on his right forearm. 

Al Jefferson: Interesting Facts

  • Jefferson hired a personal chef in the off-season leading up to the 2006–07 season and lost about 30 pounds.
  • Al was suspended without pay for five games on December 9, 2015, for violating the terms and conditions of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.
  • The player announced his retirement from the NBA on March 23, 2019. He had signed with the BIG3 earlier that month.

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Al Jefferson: Net Worth

Though Al Jefferson never achieved the status of a true superstar, he did well for himself financially.

Despite never being named to an NBA All-Star team, the double-double machine earned just over $133 million during his 14-year NBA career.

Currently, the player has a net worth of $20 Million. 

Jefferson had to work very hard to earn such large sums of money. In each of his three seasons with the Celtics, he earned less than $1.7 million.

In fact, it wasn’t until his fifth season that he truly broke the bank. Jefferson signed a five-year, $65 million contract extension with the Timberwolves after being traded.

Though he left money on the table in order to prove himself, this proved to be a poor decision in retrospect.

The rising star tore his ACL in his second season with the Timberwolves. The injury was excruciating because Jefferson was in the midst of his most productive season yet.

He eventually made his way back and went on to do well for himself over the next few years. Jefferson’s highest single-season salary was $15 million, which he received from the Jazz in 2012-13.

Despite earning only $4 million in his final NBA season, the former high school prodigy earned more than enough money to afford whatever he desired. And, as it turned out, Al Jefferson was desperate for a good night’s sleep.

Good Night’s Sleep

Some athletes choose to spend their money more prudently than others. Eddie Curry, a former New York Knicks player, spent nearly $1,100 per month on cable.

Former NFL star Andre Rison spent $1 million on jewelry alone. Al Jefferson, on the other hand, purchased something far more practical: a bed.

Only the price would be prohibitively expensive for the majority of people. Jefferson paid $23,287 for a 10-foot by 12-foot bed set in 2012 while playing for the Jazz.

Mo Williams, a former teammate, shared a photo of the bed on social media. Following that, the 6-foot-1, 198-pound point guard took a photo of himself on Jefferson’s $23,000 bed to show the size of the mattress.

While the price and size of the bed appear ridiculous, keep the purchase in context!

When you weigh 6-foot-10, 289 pounds and have made more money than you can imagine, spending $23,000 on a good night’s sleep seems like a steal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Al Jefferson’s nickname?

Jefferson is often referred to as the ‘Big’ Al. However, when the player lost weight, he was also referred to as ‘Slim Al.’

What was the last team that Al Jefferson played for?

Jefferson signed with the Chinese Basketball Association’s Xinjiang Flying Tigers in July 2018. Al averaged 15.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game in 10 games.

The player left the team in 2018. It was the last team that he played for.

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