Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s basketball journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. The 28-year-old former NBA first-round pick may no longer be in the league, but his path has taken him to unexpected and inspiring places. Since 2021, he’s plied his trade abroad, from Turkiye to Puerto Rico and even the Philippines.
This summer, Hollis-Jefferson embarked on a new chapter by joining the Jordan national team as a naturalized player for the FIBA World Cup.
Despite Jordan’s early losses in the tournament, Hollis-Jefferson has emerged as a standout star, capturing the attention of fans and pundits alike.
He ranks just behind Luka Doncic in tournament scoring, averaging a remarkable 31.5 points per game. Additionally, he contributes 9 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 38.5 minutes per game.
One of the standout moments of his FIBA World Cup journey came during a showdown with New Zealand when Hollis-Jefferson exploded for 39 points, including a clutch shot that forced overtime. The crowd’s response was nothing short of poetic, chanting “Kobe!” in homage to the late, great Kobe Bryant.
Reflecting on his remarkable journey since leaving the NBA, Hollis-Jefferson shared his personal transformation. “Once I was out of the league, I had to reevaluate myself,” he said. “I came out of high school, I was top 25. I was in the Green Room for the lottery. I felt like I was on a pedestal. I felt like I could do anything I wanted.
“Not being in the NBA, not having a roster spot kind of woke me up to humble myself. And I doubted myself. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought I was incapable of being a basketball player anymore; I wanted to give up.
“I had one son at the time and he just kept me alive, kept the hope alive for me to keep going to keep pushing. I went through a lot of ups and downs but he kept my head, he kept me focused along with a group of other people.”
It was during his time playing in Puerto Rico that Hollis-Jefferson found a coach who allowed him to rediscover himself by encouraging him to play his game.