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Old 08-18-2007, 09:32 PM   #1
funkylikemonkey
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Default RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Highest donation ever from an athlete to his former school.

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Carmelo Anthony and Steve Smith set the bar.

Now, New Jersey Nets forward Richard Jefferson has eclipsed them all, making the largest donation ever by a current professional athlete to his former school when he pledged $3.5 million to Arizona's new $14 million basketball/volleyball practice facility.

The massive donation, paid in installments, means the 27-year old Jefferson will have the naming rights to the building.

Richard Jefferson

Jefferson

According to the University of Arizona sports information department, the previous high donations were made by Denver's Anthony to Syracuse for $3 million while Smith gave $2.5 million to Michigan State. New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez donated $3.9 million to the University of Miami. But he only signed to play for the Hurricanes and never suited up for them.

"I had heard a long time ago that they were looking for someone to handle the naming rights and the word was that coach [Lute] Olson wanted to hold off to get a player to do it," Jefferson told ESPN.com Friday night from Tucson where he was working an Arizona elite camp.

"They started coming up to me and said, 'you're from Phoenix, you're an Arizona guy, and you have always represented the University of Arizona.' So we started talking about the right amount."

Jefferson played three seasons for the Wildcats from 1998-2001 and started 77 of 84 games. He averaged 11.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. He helped lead the Wildcats to the 2001 national championship game where they lost to Duke. He was chosen No. 13 in the 2001 NBA draft.

In a statement released by the school, Olson said, "Richard has always been a stand-up guy. For him to make this kind of statement about how much he cares for this program speaks volumes to Richard's character. This is a very, very generous gift."

Jefferson joked, saying that Arizona threatened if he didn't come up with the naming rights then Gilbert Arenas might do it. Jefferson said he didn't want his former college teammate and fellow NBA player to outbid him.

"It's a large amount and you could do a whole lot with that kind of money," Jefferson said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get a practice facility of this type."

Jefferson, who is in the third year of a six-year, $76 million deal, said other athletes should do what he's doing.

"If you sign for a large amount, you should do something substantial, like give $100,000 to your school," Jefferson said. "A lot of players owe a lot to coach Olson and to coach [Mike] Krzyzewski [of Duke] and to Roy Williams [of North Carolina] and to Jim Boeheim [of Syracuse]. We've all learned the game of basketball and they've allowed us to go to the NBA and to make the money."

Jefferson said he only completed two-and-half years of school before he withdrew in 2001. He said his mother received her college degree when she was 40. So, he said he has no issue waiting until he finishes playing to resume his education. But he does want to earn the degree.

Jefferson is about to begin his seventh season with the Nets with a career average of 16.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game. He has helped the Nets get to the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. He said an injury-plagued season in 2006-07 got him down a bit but he feels healthy now and, with trade talk about him leaving New Jersey moot, he's settled in for another "exciting season."

"It was a tough year for me and the team as we struggled with off court issues and then the injury with my ankle lasted until really the playoffs," said Jefferson, who played in only 55 of the 82 games last season. "I didn't play without pain until the playoffs. And then my grandmother passed away before Game 6 against Cleveland [in the Eastern Conference semifinals]. Overall, it was a tough year. But I'm healthy, and then, this opportunity came about. It's all been a blessing."
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:37 PM   #2
Dodonpa
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

go donate to a damn charity, or some place that actually needs one.
why does a university need more funds? they get plenty already.

syracuse? look at their tuition.. they hell no dont need donations.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Good for him. RJ is class. Hope he can be fully healthy next season.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

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Originally Posted by Agent_Zero
Good for him. RJ is class. Hope he can be fully healthy next season.

If he is healthy the Nets are legit contenders. RJ's 19 ppg, 7 rpg, 3 apg and great perimeter defense is very valuable.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:54 PM   #5
wang4three
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

RJ's awesome. Even if it is for a school like UA.
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Old 08-18-2007, 09:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

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Originally Posted by Dodonpa
go donate to a damn charity, or some place that actually needs one.
why does a university need more funds? they get plenty already.

syracuse? look at their tuition.. they hell no dont need donations.
I agree. It's a great gesture and all, but I still don't like it. Sure his university has a place in his heart, but the thought that there are organizations and charities that would put 3.5M to MUCH greater use must have crossed his mind.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Wow lets really criticize a gesture of good will. Who are we to tell him what he should do with his money?
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:49 PM   #8
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

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Originally Posted by wang4three
Wow lets really criticize a gesture of good will. Who are we to tell him what he should do with his money?
That's why I started with this...
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It's a great gesture and all

I'm not saying it's a bad thing that he donated money. Obviously that's great, he wanted to help out his former school. And if it was a former elementary school or junior high that wasn't doing so well, I think it would be even better (although obviously the full 3.5M would be a little excessive in that situation). It just seems like there are a ton of places that could've used the money on much more pressing needs than two athletics programs at an already thriving university.

And again, I'm not trying to knock RJ for donating money. That's great that he's using the money on others as opposed to himself. And yet it still leaves that sort of sour taste in my mouth.
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Old 08-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

You started with it, but do you actually mean it? That is yet to be determined.

Yes, there are probably other causes, foundations that could use the money more than a state school, but who are we to be the arbiter of that? Who are we to really go as far and say 'he should do this?' The school made him who he is today. How's that much different than him deciding to buy a big home for his parents? I just think its too selfish for anyone of us to say something like that. Next thing you know we'll be criticizing people for donating to AIDs research when they should be donating to a cause that is closer to being resolved.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:02 PM   #10
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Of course I mean it.

To me, there are levels of unselfishness. RJ was unselfish, and that's why I do believe that it's great that he donated the money. I wouldn't walk up to him and tell him that he did the wrong thing. As you surely know, all I'm saying is that $3.5M is a LOT of money, and to donate it all to one organization over countless needier ones doesn't seem right. Or, it does seem right, but not as right as it could be. I'm finding it hard to put my thoughts into words right now for whatever reason.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:06 PM   #11
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

I guess I kinda understand what you're trying to say...But, I don't relate at all. When I establish myself and have enough money to start donating, you can bet I'll be donating a nice portion of it to University of Illinois. I can't describe how much maturation college has provided for me.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Eh, I'm just starting university, so I guess I can't really relate with what you're saying at all either. I can tell you that I have absolutely no lasting bond with any of my schools up to this point. The school's themselves just haven't really meant anything to me at all up to this point. Teachers, perhaps, but certainly not the schools themselves.

Going through university could change my view on this. Who knows? :)
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:22 PM   #13
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Quote:
Originally Posted by wang4three
I guess I kinda understand what you're trying to say...But, I don't relate at all. When I establish myself and have enough money to start donating, you can bet I'll be donating a nice portion of it to University of Illinois. I can't describe how much maturation college has provided for me.
then your school hasn't taught you enough.

First of all, yeah, it's your money, you can do whatever you want. No argument here. Nobody can tell you how to spend your money.

But donating to a large university.. is it correct? Hell no.
Whatever portion you will be donating to them.. for them.. it's chump change.
They get millions more from billionaires, sponsors, program, gov't and all that. Your money means nothing much to them.

However, your money, no matter how little, could actually feed a few kids in Africa. You could donate to some hospital where the money is actually getting medical equipments to help lives.

So what did you learn from your university?
that donating to an already rich and stable university, where your money won't be seen for any good uses- maybe buy some toilet papers
is better than donating to actually help kids and causes?

the efficiency of $1 dollar to a university and to a charity foundation is very much different. Think about what $1 can do for each of them.

Regardless of how much you appreciate your university, money isn't the way to thank them.You can show the world how your university educated you by donating change to them... or actually make a change to the world.

Your money, your choice.
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:31 PM   #14
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

Wildcats are the reason why he's banking 100+ million in the NBA. What has charity done for him? Zip! Nil!
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Old 08-18-2007, 11:34 PM   #15
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Default Re: RJ donates 3.5 million to Arizona

NBA players earn boatloads anyways, they should donate it more often.
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