Flashback Friday: A look back at the career of former NBA star Isaiah “JR” Rider


Today is Flashback Friday. I recently came across a Ball is Life post for an upcoming documentary on former NBA star, Isaiah “JR” Rider. If you aren’t familiar with JR, let me give you the back story.

JR was once the NBA’s poster child for trouble yet talented. Former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian once said JR was “probably the most talented player I have ever coached.” JR averaged 29.1 points per game his senior season at UNLV in 1992-93.

There were hints of problems to come with JR. After bouncing through 2 junior colleges – and problems staying academically eligible – while at UNLV, JR was arrested and spent a night in jail for assaulting a drive-through attendant at Jack in the Box. He allegedly threw a shake in the guy’s face cause it was vanilla instead of strawberry.

Rider went on to be drafted 5th in the 1993 draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves – he guaranteed he’d win the dunk contest the day he was drafted. He did it.

During his six-plus seasons in the NBA, rider was arrested for assault, gambling and weed. We can’t forget that one of his arrests included possessing an illegal cell phone that was flipped to charge his calls to someone else’s cell. How 90’s I bet it was a Motorola Star-Tac, that was the go to baller phone in the 90’s.


Rider was apart of five NBA teams, and won a ring with the Lakers during year one of the Kobe, Phil Jackson and Shaq three-peat era.

He was traded from the Timberwolves to the Trail Blazers, then to the Atlanta Hawks, signed with the Lakers as a free agent, and had a brief stint with the Denver Nuggets – he showed up two days late to training camp.



In 1999, he was suspended for going into the stands during a game with the Golden State Warriors. He once reportedly threatened to have a reporter killed. He also threatened to have his teammate Dikembe Mutumbo killed. At one point, he was arrested on a rape allegation.


Things didn’t get better in his immediate post-league years. rider was arrested three times in 2008. Those arrests included:

  • January 2008 confrontation with a taxi driver. Rider had a warrant out for his arrest for illegal possession of a firearm AND another warrant for grand theft.
  • March 2008 possession of a controlled substance and driving on a suspended license in San Rafael – that’s in the Bay Area for those not familiar. He was then arrested later that month in LA for grand theft.

Three more arrests in 2010 some of those incidents involving his fianceé at the time.

  • Arrested in Mesa, AZ for assaulting his fianceé, not paying a cab driver and allegedly kidnapping his one month old son

But Rider has fought his way through all of this and now at 43, his life is on a different path. This is the most recent trailer for his upcoming documentary, “My Testimony: Raw & Uncut.”


January 2015 is the scheduled release date and I can’t wait to check it out.