Thabo Patrick Sefolosha (/ /; born May 2, 1984) is a Swiss-South African professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He has also played in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls, Oklahoma City Thunder, Atlanta Hawks, and Utah Jazz, in the Turkish Basketball League for the Fenerbahçe, in France for Élan Chalon, in Italy for Angelico Biella, and in Switzerland for Vevey Riviera Basket. In 2006, he became the first player from Switzerland to play in the NBA, and in 2013, he was labelled the best Swiss basketball player of all-time by Swiss newspaper Freiburger Nachrichten.
Sefolosha with the Thunder in 2011
|No. 18 – Houston Rockets|
|Position||Shooting guard / Small forward|
|Born||May 2, 1984|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||215 lb (98 kg)|
|NBA draft||2006 / Round: 1 / Pick: 13th overall|
|Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers|
|2009–2014||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Sefolosha was born in Vevey, Switzerland to Patrick Sefolosha, a South African musician, and Christine Sefolosha (née Beck), a Swiss artist. In his youth, he has visited and lived in several countries. He speaks French, Italian and English.
Early years (2001–2006)Edit
Sefolosha was invited to join the junior Swiss national basketball team, and at 17 he began a professional career with Tege Riviera Basket, in Switzerland's top domestic league. On a team trip to France, Sefolosha was approached by a French talent scout to play with Elan Chalon in the premier pro league in France.
Sefolosha spent his first year in Chalon-sur-Saône playing with the junior under-21 squad, which traveled alongside the senior club. The following year (2002–03), he earned a rotation spot on the senior club, where he played 30 games and averaged 4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1 assist per game.
The following season, Sefolosha earned a starting spot on the senior team, which he helped lead to a third-place finish in the French league, where his team advanced to the playoffs semifinals. During the season, he averaged 9.4 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 steal in 30.7 minutes per game.
Before the start of his fourth season with Elan Chalon, a contract dispute between Sefolosha and the team arose. Sefolosha's agent and the team president could not reach an agreement on a new contract, so Sefolosha signed with Italian team Angelico Biella. "Last summer, I had the chance to re-negotiate my contract with the club. We were supposed to reach an agreement, but when my agent and the president started talking, they couldn't agree on a contract. They wanted to keep me, but at the same time I had this offer from Italy. That's when I decided that the best thing for my career was to play in Biella. Yes, there was a little bit of trouble, but in the end it was OK."
Chicago Bulls (2006–2009)Edit
Sefolosha was taken with the 13th pick of the 2006 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and promptly traded to the Chicago Bulls for the 16th pick (Rodney Carney), and cash considerations. In an article on Bulls.com, Sefolosha was quoted saying "I was certainly surprised (at the draft) when someone came up and said that I was the next to be picked. I thought maybe he had made a mistake or something. But a few minutes later he came back and told me that not only was I going to be picked, but that I was going to be traded to Chicago, which really got me excited."
Former Bulls head coach Scott Skiles cited Sefolosha's wingspan and past pro basketball experience as reasons why the Bulls were interested in him. "Thabo's got great physical gifts that, frankly, a lot of guys in the league just don't have. He's got tremendous length and has really quick hands, he grabs your attention whenever you watch him play. It's easy to see that he knows what he's doing out there. You can tell he likes to play defense, too. He's eager to get after it."
After the NBA summer leagues finished, ESPN asked several NBA talent scouts and executives to rank the summer league players and Sefolosha scored high. "He excelled at just about everything", reported one of the professionals. "Thabo Sefolosha showed that he's going to be able to step in right away and contribute to the Bulls."
Oklahoma City Thunder (2009–2014)Edit
On February 19, 2009, the trade deadline, Sefolosha was traded by the Bulls to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Denver's 2009 first-round draft pick, which Chicago used to draft Taj Gibson. Sefolosha was selected to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team for the 2009–10 NBA season.
In October 2011, during the 2011 NBA lockout, Sefolosha signed with Fenerbahçe Ülker in Turkey, but only for Euroleague matches. His deal had an out-clause that allowed him to return to Oklahoma City at the end of the lockout. He played 7 matches with Fenerbahçe Ülker during the 2011–12 Euroleague season.
In 2012, Sefolosha and the Thunder reached the NBA Finals, but were defeated by the Miami Heat.
Atlanta Hawks (2014–2017)Edit
On July 15, 2014, Sefolosha was acquired by the Atlanta Hawks in a sign-and-trade deal, along with rights to Giorgos Printezis, in exchange for the rights to Sofoklis Schortsanitis. On January 31, 2015, he was ruled out for six to eight weeks with a strained right calf. On April 9, he was ruled out for the rest of the regular season due to a fractured tibia suffered while being arrested by members of the New York City Police Department.
Utah Jazz (2017–2019)Edit
On July 18, 2017, Sefolosha signed a multi-year deal with the Utah Jazz. On January 12, 2018, in Utah's 99–88 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Sefolosha suffered a right MCL injury. He underwent season-ending surgery five days later. On April 3, 2018, he was suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.
Houston Rockets (2019–present)Edit
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field-goal percentage||3P%||3-point field-goal percentage||FT%||Free-throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||PIR||Performance Index Rating|
Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season. He also played in domestic competition, and regional competition if applicable.
On April 8, 2015, Sefolosha and teammate Pero Antić were arrested outside a nightclub in New York City for allegedly interfering with police after Chris Copeland of the Indiana Pacers was stabbed in the abdomen following an argument. During the altercation, the NYPD officers broke Sefolosha's right leg, shutting him down for the rest of the season. He underwent surgery on April 16, to repair a fractured tibia and ligament damage.
The prosecution offered Sefolosha a plea bargain, which would have involved a dismissal of the charges after six months, but Sefolosha refused it on September 9, 2015, even though his attorney, Alex Spiro, urged him to take it. Sefolosha said that he wanted to let the case proceed to trial instead; at the same time, charges against Antić were dropped. Sefolosha's court hearing was set on October 5, 2015. On October 9, a Manhattan jury found him not guilty of all three misdemeanor charges: obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. On October 21, 2015, Sefolosha announced he would be suing the city of New York as well as eight police officers for up to $50 million in damages. On April 9, 2017, it was announced Sefolosha had settled with the NYPD for $4 million, a "substantial portion" of which he donated to Gideon's Promise, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating public defenders.
- Der neue Nati-Trainer Petar Aleksic soll das Unmögliche möglich machen (in German)
- "Thabo Sefolosha: Coming to America." NBA: September 14, 2006.
- HoopsHype interview with Sefolosha URL last accessed September 27, 2006
- ESPN article on the 2006 NBA Draft URL last accessed September 27, 2006
- "Thunder Acquires Thabo Sefolosha". NBA.com. February 19, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- "Thabo Sefolosha signs With a Turkish Club". Boston.com. October 12, 2011. Retrieved March 9, 2013.
- "Hawks Acquire Thabo Sefolosha in Sign-And-Trade Transaction". Atlanta Hawks. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "Thabo Sefolosha Expected To Miss 6-8 Weeks". Atlanta Hawks. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- Dwyer, Kelly (April 9, 2015). "Thabo Sefolosha out for season following an altercation with police". Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved October 10, 2015.
- "Jazz Sign Thabo Sefolosha". NBA.com. July 18, 2017. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
- Jones, Tony (January 13, 2018). "Sources: Thabo Sefolosha may be out for season in another blow to Jazz's season". sltrib.com. Retrieved January 15, 2018.
- "Utah Jazz forward Thabo Sefolosha undergoes knee surgery". NBA.com. January 17, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Mavericks' Nerlens Noel, Jazz's Thabo Sefolosha suspended for violating anti-drug program". NBA.com. April 3, 2018. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
- "Rockets to sign Thabo Sefolosha". chron.com. September 20, 2019. Retrieved September 20, 2019.
- "Rockets Sign Free Agent Thabo Sefolosha". NBA.com. September 23, 2019. Retrieved September 24, 2019.
- Parascandola, Rocco (April 8, 2015). "Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland stabbed at 1 OAK club; two Atlanta Hawks arrested in aftermath: NYPD sources". New York Daily News. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- Arnovitz, Kevin (April 10, 2015). "Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha has broken leg, out for season". espn.go.com. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- "Hawks' Sefolosha undergoes surgery for injured right leg". NBA.com. April 17, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Lat, David (March 23, 2016). "A Wrongful-Arrest Defense Clinic: The Thabo Sefolosha Story". Above The Law. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
- Jr, James C. Mckinley (September 9, 2015). "Thabo Sefolosha, Atlanta Hawks Player, Spurns Lenient Plea Bargain". The New York Times.
- Buhler, John (September 9, 2015). "Thabo Sefolosha's Court Date Set, Antic's Charges Dropped". atlallday.com. Retrieved September 9, 2015.
- "Hawks' Thabo Sefolosha found not guilty in NYC arrest case". espn.go.com. Associated Press. October 9, 2015. Retrieved October 9, 2015.
- Rosenberg, Rebecca; Marsh, Julia (October 21, 2015). "NBAer who beat charges in melee outside club to sue NYC for up to $50M". NYPost.com. Retrieved October 21, 2015.
- "Sefolosha will give part of $4M to legal charity". ESPN.com. Retrieved April 9, 2017.
- "Utah Jazz F Thabo Sefolosha rescues woman on Provo River trip". ESPN.com. October 7, 2017. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
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