Former NBA Star Sebastian Telfair Recounts Losing $20 Million Deal With Adidas

Former basketball player Sebastian Telfair spoke about losing a $20 million deal with Adidas in a new interview with VladTV. The former point guard — a high school star during the early aughts, who even appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 2004 — recounted how the brand dropped him after just a few years in the NBA.

Telfair was arrested on a gun possession charge in 2007 while playing for the Boston Celtics, which ultimately led Adidas to split ties with the up-and-comer. “Adidas is super bogus for that,” he said of the brand withdrawing their offer and canceling a pending $6 million check. He went on to point out that in his documentary, Adidas had allegedly talked about wanting him for his street credibility. “That deal never should’ve been taken away from me,” he stressed, before adding that it “should’ve been guaranteed.”

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Speaking to Sports Illustrated in 2013, Telfair expressed regret over the falling out. “I was stupid,” he told the publication at the time. “I was thinking, I’m not trying to hurt nobody, I’m not going to kill nobody, rob no bank…you don’t understand what you’re doing wrong, and as a basketball player, certain things are just not accepted.”

Sebastian Telfair 2004, adidas deal
Sebastian Telfair poses for a portrait after a press conference announcing that he signed a multi-year partnership agreement with Adidas at the ESPN Zone in New York City on May 4, 2004. Getty Images

After rising to prominence on the court while growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was drafted 13th by the Portland Trail Blazers. Telfair would end up getting traded numerous times over the course of his NBA career. After only a year with the Celtics (2006-2007), he went to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and subsequently, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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