Did Jeff Sheppard Play in the NBA? All You Need to Know

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 6 Min Read
6 Min Read

Jeff Sheppard’s basketball journey is a tale of triumph, transition, and influence, extending from the hardwood floors of NCAA championships to the professional arenas of the NBA and beyond. Known for his pivotal role in securing two national titles for the Kentucky Wildcats, Sheppard’s legacy is etched in college basketball history. However, the question of whether Jeff Sheppard played in the NBA sparks curiosity among fans and enthusiasts alike.

NCAA Success and Transition to the NBA

Jeff Sheppard, born in Marietta, Georgia, showcased his basketball prowess at the University of Kentucky. His collegiate career is highlighted by two NCAA championships (1996 and 1998), with Sheppard being named the Most Outstanding Player in the 1998 tournament. His impressive performance at Kentucky, scoring a total of 1,091 points, solidifies his place among the legends of college basketball.

Transitioning to the professional stage, Jeff Sheppard did indeed make his mark in the NBA, albeit for a brief period. Sheppard played one season for the Atlanta Hawks during the 1998-99 NBA season. In his 18-game tenure with the Hawks, Sheppard averaged 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds, showcasing his skills on the professional court despite the limited playing time​​.

Beyond the NBA: A Career Abroad and After Basketball

Not ready to leave the game post-NBA, Sheppard extended his career overseas, playing in Italy for Benetton Treviso, Cordivari Roseto, and Wurth Roma. His international career spanned three years, concluding in 2001 following the tragic events of September 11, which led him to prioritize family and settle in London, Kentucky.

Post-retirement, Sheppard’s influence transcended the basketball courts. Alongside his wife, Stacey, a former Kentucky basketball player, Sheppard ventured into business, establishing a private label apparel company. His commitment to his community is evident through his involvement in various activities, including “Shoot Hoops, Not Drugs” basketball camps, aiming to educate children on the dangers of drug use.


Sheppard’s Lasting Legacy

Jeff Sheppard’s journey from NCAA championships to the NBA and beyond is a testament to his dedication to basketball and his community. While his NBA career was brief, his impact on and off the court continues to inspire. Today, Sheppard owns Sheppards Fan Shop in London, KY, selling licensed University of Kentucky merchandise, further cementing his ties to Kentucky basketball and its passionate fan base.

The NBA Journey

Jeff Sheppard’s transition from college basketball sensation to professional player saw him briefly gracing the NBA. Despite a stellar NCAA career, Sheppard played only one season in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks during the 1998-99 season. His time in the league might have been short, with averages of 2.2 points and 1.2 rebounds over 18 games, but it was a dream realized for many aspiring athletes.

A Global Basketball Career

Following his NBA tenure, Sheppard didn’t hang up his sneakers. Instead, he expanded his horizons and played professionally in Italy for three years. His overseas career included stints with Benetton Treviso, Cordivari Roseto, and Wurth Roma. This phase of his career underscored his adaptability and dedication to the game he loves.

Life After Basketball

After retiring from professional basketball in 2001, Sheppard chose to focus on his family and life in London, Kentucky. Alongside his wife, Stacey Reed, a former Kentucky basketball player, they started 15inc., a private label apparel company. This venture into business demonstrates Sheppard’s successful transition from athlete to entrepreneur.

Community Involvement and Legacy

Jeff Sheppard’s influence extends far beyond the basketball court. He actively participates in community service, notably through “Shoot Hoops, Not Drugs,” an annual basketball camp aimed at educating children about the dangers of drug use. His commitment to his community and the development of young athletes showcases the depth of his character and his desire to give back.

The Sheppard Brand

In addition to his business and community service endeavors, Sheppard owns Sheppards Fan Shop in London, KY, a testament to his enduring connection to Kentucky basketball. The shop offers officially licensed merchandise, further cementing his legacy within the Kentucky sports community.

Final Thoughts

Jeff Sheppard’s journey from NCAA glory to the NBA and beyond is a compelling narrative of success, transition, and impact. While his time in the NBA was brief, his contributions to basketball and his community are lasting. Through his professional career, entrepreneurial ventures, and community involvement, Sheppard exemplifies the spirit of perseverance and giving back.

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