Rondae Hollis-Jefferson offers heartbreaking plea for shot at redemption in NBA: ‘I’m confused as to why I can’t get a opportunity’

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

Former first-round pick Rondae Hollis-Jefferson shared a heartbreaking glimpse into his journey to get back into the NBA.

After shining with Jordan during the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Hollis-Jefferson has yet to get a chance to return to the NBA despite playing overseas. He shared some of his struggles, such as how much he misses his family, on social media.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

The No. 23 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft has not played in the NBA since the 2020-21 season. Hollis-Jefferson began his career with the Brooklyn Nets, playing there for four seasons.

He then spent time with the Toronto Raptors in the 2019-20 season before playing the 2020-21 campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers – the same team that drafted him back in 2015.

During his NBA career, Hollis-Jefferson averaged 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the field and 21.2 percent from beyond the arc.

Hollis-Jefferson showcased how much he’s grown as a player during the 2023 FIBA World Cup, drawing comparisons to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in the process.

He scored 39 points in Jordan’s loss to New Zealand, including an insane four-point play with just over 10 seconds left that forced overtime in the game.

During the World Cup, Hollis-Jefferson showed a ton of gratitude for the comparisons to Bryant.

“He’s a legend, and you can only dream of being compared to someone like him,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “But I’m nowhere near close to Kobe. I’ve tried to be a hard worker like he was, and I feel his energy. I also know a lot of people that knew him, so I’ve been hearing stories about him my whole life.”

Despite his impressive play on the international stage, Hollis-Jefferson, 29, still appears to be on the outside looking in at a shot in the NBA.

As he shared on social media, Hollis-Jefferson seems to be willing to do anything to get another shot – even in a bench role – simply to prove that he belongs at the NBA level. He certainly has the talent (there was a reason he was a first-round pick), but things appear to be out of his hands until an NBA team comes knocking.

Former NBA guard Isaiah Thomas, who went through a tough journey to get back in the NBA as well, offered his support to Hollis-Jefferson on social media.

Hopefully, the “Kobe of Jordan” gets his second chance to prove he belongs in the greatest basketball league in the world.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.