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Sebastian Telfair, once a hoops phenom, sentenced to prison on gun charge

Former NBA player Sebastian Telfair, who went straight to the league after a high-profile high school career, was sentenced Monday to 3½ years in prison for gun possession.

Telfair, 34, was arrested in New York in 2017 after being pulled over in his vehicle, at which point, police said, they found a cache of firearms and ammunition. He was convicted in April on a charge of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and faced a sentence of up to 15 years.

At his hearing Monday in Brooklyn Supreme Court, a reportedly agitated Telfair said: “Please don’t take me from the society right now. I’m 34. I can go play in China for another six years, take care of my family.”

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, in a statement, said: “The mandatory prison sentence he received today is required by law and he has now been held accountable for the unlawful conduct.”

Telfair’s NBA career began in 2004, when he was drafted 13th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers directly out of Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High, where he enjoyed a legendary career and earned national player of the year honors. As an undersized point guard in the pros, he stuck around for 10 years but struggled to make a major impact, averaging 7.4 points, 3.5 assists and 1.6 rebounds.

That was a far cry from the hullabaloo Telfair generated in his teenage years, including appearing on the cover of Slam magazine in 2002 with fellow high school star LeBron James. That pair was “about to rule the world,” the magazine blared.

In 2004, Telfair was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and over the next two years his experiences inspired a book and a documentary.

A cousin of fellow New York level guard Stephon Marbury, Telfair by no means approached Marbury’s stage of luck within the NBA, as he bounced from Portland to the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma Town Thunder.

Alongside the best way, he used to be enthusiastic about a couple of weapons-related incidents, together with a 2007 arrest on a gun ownership fee after he used to be pulled over for dashing in Yonkers, N.Y. The Path Blazers fined Telfair in 2006 after a loaded gun used to be discovered on a staff airplane, reportedly in a pillowcase belonging to him.

Of the 2007 arrest, which ended in a sentence of 3 years’ probation, Telfair advised Sports activities Illustrated in 2013 that he had the gun for “no explicit reason why or explicit scenario,” including: “Simply having it, being dumb. … If I used to be excited about, I wish to make sure that I’m getting a freelance and be an all-star, [then] for no reason why would I’ve a weapon, at no time limit.”

“I more or less ruined my profession with that,” Telfair mentioned then. “It used to be a foul transfer throughout. However I don’t beat myself up about it an excessive amount of.”

On Monday, he complained in courtroom that he used to be being penalized too harshly for a “victimless crime.”

“The judgment on this case sir, is what the jury convicted you of,” Pass judgement on John Hecht advised Telfair. “You’ve accomplished greatness to your existence, and this example doesn’t take that away.”

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