Ex-Celtics PF Jared Sullinger Says His 'Ultimate Goal' Is to Make NBA Comeback

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2020

Boston Celtics center Jared Sullinger (7) brings the ball up court during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Friday, Nov. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Jared Sullinger hasn't appeared in the NBA since 2017 but still has a goal of making it back to the league.

The former Boston Celtics forward broke down his recent path to Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe:

"I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal. The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again."

Sullinger was a two-time All-American at Ohio State and was highly regarded heading into the draft, but injury concerns caused him to slide to the Celtics at No. 21 overall in 2012. 

The 6'9" player had several quality years in Boston, contributing as a starter and reserve. During his second season, he averaged 13.3 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. He moved onto the Toronto Raptors after four seasons with the Celtics but struggled to make an impact, averaging just 3.4 points per game in 11 appearances.

He spent time in the G League and was traded to the Phoenix Suns but never got another chance in the NBA.

Back and foot injuries helped contribute to his early exit from the league and he was waived in February 2017.

Despite his up-and-down career as a professional, Sullinger continued to stay active and dominated overseas for the Shenzhen Leopards in the China Basketball League. In two seasons, he averaged 29.5 points and 15.7 rebounds across 53 appearances.

The 28-year-old is now hoping to earn another chance in the United States.

"I'm completely healthy. I feel good," he said. "The ultimate goal is the NBA. I'm trying to give it one more shot."