JR Rider Speaker Profile
JR Rider Biography
Isaiah Rider, Jr., sometimes known as J.R. Rider was born March 12, 1971 and is a retired basketball player.
Rider was born in Oakland, California, and was raised in nearby Alameda. He starred in both baseball and basketball at Encinal High School before going on to a college career with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and a professional career in the National Basketball Association. He last played in the early stages of the 2001-02 NBA season.
Despite the questions surrounding his character, Rider was taken by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 5th pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He began calling himself Isaiah after being known as J.R. through college. As a harbinger of things to come, he was late for his first practice with the Timberwolves. However, he took the league by storm in his rookie year, tallying three 30-point games in December 1993, winning the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest in February 1994 with a spectacular between-the-legs jam, which he titled the East Bay Funk Dunk (veteran All-Star Charles Barkley called it the best dunk he had ever seen), and finishing the 1993-94 season as a member of the NBA's All-Rookie First Team.
In his second season, Rider continued to display the scoring flair that earned him praise the year prior, but also resumed the type of troubling off-court behavior that would ultimately de-rail his entire career. Though he was among the NBA's leaders in scoring at 20.4 ppg in 94-95, Rider feuded with Minnesota coach Bill Blair throughout the year, leading to a December suspension. Rider did win the 1995 ESPN ESPY Award for best NBA play, however: during a December game against the Sacramento Kings, Rider jumped to save a ball from going out of bounds, flinging it blindly towards the general vicinity of the basket... and it somehow went in, completing what T-Wolves announcer Tom Hanneman would term the Play of the Decade. But aside from that brief flash of brilliance, Rider's 1995 would mainly be characterized by his attitude and clashes with authority.
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