For a professional basketball player, getting to paid to play on your birthday has to be a highlight every year. Sadly for one basketball player, instead of playing on his birthday, he was waived by his team.
With the 28th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics drafted R.J. Hunter out of Georgia State. The 23-year-old played in 36 games for the Celtics last season and averaged 2.7 points in 8.8 minutes per game.
Sadly for Hunter, the 2015-2016 NBA season could be his first and last with Boston. The Celtics waived Hunter this week, thus making him a free agent.
This is here things get worse. Boston chose the worst day of the year to cut Hunter, his birthday. That’s right – Hunter was released on his 23rd birthday on Monday.
“He’s disappointed,” R.J.’s father Ron Hunter said. “For a kid to get waived on his birthday isn’t the best way to celebrate your birthday. But he understands this is a business and there will be another opportunity for him.”
“He’ll move on,” Ron Hunter said. “He appreciates everything Boston has done for him. They drafted him and he definitely appreciates that. Now he goes to find his next opportunity. He knows he’s an NBA player.”
While R.J.’s time in Boston may be done, Ron is confident his son will get another shot.
According to the Boston Globe, other NBA teams have already reached out to R.J. about signing him to a contract. However, with the NBA season set to begin later this week, time is running out for R.J. to make a roster before the start of the season.
“In R.J.’s mind his deal was he wanted to get better,” Ron said. “He felt he improved. The rest of it is a business, and his part of his business, R.J. Hunter Corp., moves on.”
“You don’t take it personally and you just move on. And that’s what he’s doing. He’s still a young kid. He’s hurt right now, but when he wakes up tomorrow, he’s going to be fine,” Ron added.
ESPN reported part of the reason why the Celtics decided to part ways with Hunter was due to the depth they had at the guard position. The decision ultimately came down to R.J. Hunter and 2014 first round pick James Young, and Boston ultimately picked Young.