The Daily Mail reports that retired NBA point guard Sebastian Telfair had an emotional breakdown after he was sentenced to more than three years in prison for gun possession charges.
On August 12, 2019, the former NBA player erupted in tears after the verdict was announced.
According to law enforcement reports, officers discovered three loaded handguns, a gas-powered submachine gun, extended magazines, ammunition and a ballistic vest inside of his vehicle during a traffic stop in 2017.
Telfair told the court that he was being punished for a “victimless crime.”
Telfair begged the court to cut him some slack:
Please don’t take me from society right now. I am 34. I can go play in China for six years and take care of my family. I’m waiting for my daughter right now to get her period. Real mental illness because I wasn’t around… She hasn’t even gotten her period yet.
He added, “Put a gun in his hand and fight for us n—- … I go to the gun store. I got an American Express.”
Throughout his basketball career, Telfair was journeyman. He played for nine NBA teams and three Chinese teams during his 13-year professional career.
Telfair was driving a Ford F-150 accompanied by a friend early in the morning on June 11, 2017, when the two were pulled over because the truck did not have its headlights on.
The officers reported that they smelled marijuana burning inside the car. As a result, they ordered the passengers out of the car and arrested them before carrying out their search.
The former NBA player claims that he didn’t know the guns were in the car because at that time he was going through a divorce and paid movers to put some of his possessions in his truck and take them from Florida to New York.
Telfair also questioned whether the officers lied about the marijuana smell in his truck. He asserted that the drugs weren’t his and he even accused his friend of lying about them.
According to an internal affairs investigation, the officers who arrested Telfair were correct about the weed smell, which gave them probable cause to search Telfair’s car.
Telfair is the cousin of former NBA All-Star Stephon Marbury. He played 10 NBA seasons with nine different teams from 2004 to 2013, which included the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder and Toronto Raptors.
Telfair also played three seasons for professional teams in China.
The former NBA player’s case shows that numerous states like New York still have stiff gun laws that punish otherwise peaceful individuals.
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