Former Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is pondering what could have been.
In an interview with The Athletic, he said he messed up his chance to play in the NBA.
“I wasn’t an NBA basketball player when I left the gym,” Sullinger told Baptist. “I was still a kid and I really [expletive] it up.”
Sullinger was once considered a lottery pick prior to the 2012 draft. He averaged 17.3 points and 9.7 rebounds in 74 career games with Ohio State.
But questions regarding his durability dropped him to the Celtics at No. 21. Injuries, in addition to issues with conditioning, was indeed what cut his tenure in Boston short. He played on the team for four seasons before recording an 11-game career with the Raptors in 2016-17. The forward finished with NBA averages of 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
Since then, he has played for the Shenzhen Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. He has also participated in a basketball tournament with a $2 million prize reward.
“Of course, everybody’s dream is to play in the NBA. Don’t get me wrong,” said Sullinger. “But I just want to play basketball somewhere. I’m at that point in my dream. I just want to play basketball and get paid somewhere … That’s my main goal. Whether it’s here, there or on the moon, I’m there.”
To date, Sullinger weighs 282 pounds.
“You might not play as well [weighing less],” Sullinger said. “At the same time, I’m trying. 282 is not a goal weight. But it’s a weight, and right now it’s working for me, and the further I go, the better.”
Sullinger noted that gaining weight was what likely caused him to be sidelined with injury while playing with the Celtics. Multiple stress fractures in his feet resulted in the Celtics renouncing his contract rights and making him an unrestricted free agent for the Raptors to sign in 2016.
“I was young and I got tired of people telling me what to do,” Sullinger said regarding his time with the Celtics. “I was trying to be a man and, in reality, I was still a boy. I was living on my own and paying my bills and buying my own food and buying my own clothes and I had a lot of money… So again, it’s on me. I look back on it now and say, ‘What the [expletive] was I thinking?’”
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Source: GreenStreet Blog