Josh Richardson is living an NBA fairytale.
He was a middling recruit out of high school, spent four seasons at Tennessee then got picked in the second round. Just three years later, he’s a budding star with a life-changing contract.
It’s probably uncoincidental his rise came in Miami. The Heat are renowned for their environment, where underappreciated hard-working players get in great shape and develop their skills. In Miami, Hassan Whiteside became the first player in NBA history to go from a minimum salary one year to a max salary the next. In Miami, undrafted Tyler Johnson earned a contract so large, he threw up when he first heard about it. In Miami, Udonis Haslem has had one of the longest careers ever for an undrafted player.
“We just want to invest everything we have with our guys – all of our experiences, all of our time, all of our love, all of our tough love – to be able to develop and put guys in the program and help them become whoever they’ve dreamed about becoming,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “And if that sounds crazy to people on the outside, we love those kinds of dreams.”
But this wasn’t Richardson’s dream. Not even close.
He was set on becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Growing up, Richardson attended forums and seminars on medicine. He learned more about the field, even sat in on a surgery and met kids who shared his interest. His determination to become a doctor intensified.