Rider University men’s basketball legend Jason Thompson announced his retirement from professional basketball, while beginning a new chapter of his career as the Broncs’ special assistant to the head coach. The 2008 NBA Lottery Pick ends his 13-year pro playing career, including the first eight in the NBA with the Sacramento Kings, Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.
“As I reflect on my career, Rider University has done so much for me both on and off the court — academically and through the basketball program,” Thompson stated. “Rider University has helped me on the court to become a 13-year pro and off the court to start the Jason Thompson Foundation, a leadership program, and give back to the community. Even though I am retiring, I will not be leaving the game of basketball. I can’t think of a better way to still be around the game than by coming back to Rider University with Head Coach Kevin Baggett, who was an assistant coach when I played. I’m excited to be here and looking forward to taking the next steps into my new journey.”
Thompson is an Associated Press honorable mention All-American, U.S. Basketball Writers’ Association District II Player of the Year, the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 3 selection, MAAC Player of the Year and the MAAC Defensive Player of the Year at Rider. He compiled 2,040 points (third-most ever at Rider) and a Rider-record 1,171 rebounds, including a Broncs single-season-best 412 in 2007-08. His 235 career blocks and 91 rejections in 2007-08 are also Rider records.
He was a first-ballot Rider Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 2016, and his No. 1 jersey hangs from the rafters of Alumni Gym as one of only two Rider men’s basketball players of all-time to have their numbers retired (Darrick Suber, No. 4).
Thompson went on to play 541 games for the Sacramento Kings in the NBA, the most ever for the franchise while based in Sacramento, compiling over 5,000 points and 3,750 rebounds in seven seasons, before splitting his eighth season in 2015-16 with the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors.
From 2016-17 through 2020-21, Thompson’s basketball journey took him to the Shandong Golden Stars, Sichuan Blue Whales, Shanghai Sharks and Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association and Turkish club Fenerbahce of the EuroLeague.
“Since his graduation and through all of his professional success, Jason has remained close to the program and supported us both as a mentor to our student-athletes and with his contributions to help build our practice facility and renovate our locker rooms and offices,” Baggett said. “In this next phase of his career, we’re thrilled to have him back in the program. The experience and knowledge he’ll be able to share with our players is invaluable.”