Nick Richards was a fan favorite when he was at Kentucky. The former McDonald's All-American and five-star forward that sought out to come to Kentucky to be a one-and-done back in 2017, winded up on a different path, but ultimately found success that he could've never imagined as a teenager.
After spending multiple seasons in Lexington, Kentucky, consumed in a high turnover culture where elite talent came and left very quickly, some calling it a "pit stop' to the NBA," he always managed to stay positive and reiterate that everyones story is different.
After a near SEC Player of the Year award winning junior year, the Kingston, Jamaica native found himself drafted in the second round of the 2020 NBA Draft at No. 42 overall, to the New Orleans Pelicans, which the pick was traded to the Charlotte Hornets.
With things being a longer than expected journey to becoming a professional athlete, despite only having picked up a basketball at just the age of 15 years old, the former Kentucky Wildcat told Sam Farber of Hornets Hive Cast in an interview that he could've never imagined all of this coming true as a career. "When I was 14 or 13 years old, I was just a kid, we lived on a sugar cane plantation. If you go back in time and told that 13 year old kid that he was going to play in the NBA, he probably wouldn't believe you."
Nick Richards says since basketball isn't very popular in Jamaica, and that football (soccer) and track are very dominating throughout the country, he didn't think basketball would be his future career path. "I did not think it was going to be basketball, I thought I was going to be a goal keeper. I thought I was either going to be a goal keeper or a high jumper. I knew I was going to be doing something in athletics, but I didn't know it was going to be in basketball. I thought it would be one of those two (soccer or track)."
To hear the whole conversation between Nick Richards and HHC, click here.
In just 29 career games since being drafted, the 7-footer has totaled for 1,8 points per game, 1.1 rebounds per game on just 5.6 minutes of clock a game. His salary has paid him $1,517,981 during his rookie year, and will pay him $1,782,621 this year, which ranks as the 424th best-paid NBA player this season, and 56th best-paid center in the NBA.
Success comes in all kinds of different stories.