OJ Simpson was freed on parole on Sunday (1 October) after spending nine years in prison for a Las Vegas armed robbery, with the disgraced former NFL star released from the Nevada Lovelock Correctional Center.

He was initially set to serve a 9- to 33-year sentence at the prison after he was convicted in the year 2008 for kidnapping and for armed robbery, along with 10 other charges.

During his 2008 trial, prosecutors had said that the Hall of Famer, along with five other men who were armed with deadly weapons, had walked into a Las Vegas casino hotel room in September 2007 from where they stole memorabilia such as signed game balls and photos.

Four of them pleaded guilty to felony charges before the trial and later testified for the prosecution.

Simpson's defense team argued that the athlete was simply trying to retrieve his personal items that had been previously stolen, as reported by the E News website.

During the parole hearing, Simpson stuck to his defence, stating that he was was trying to get back what he said was "personal", stolen property, including "intimate family photos" and documents of his accomplishments.

However, the 70-year-old added that the most important thing to him now is to return back to his family and said that he is "ready to return to life as a free man".

Simpson – whose full name is Orenthal James Simpson – said at the hearing, "I do have four kids. I've missed a lot of time with those kids. I think I'm a guy who's always been a giving guy – even on the street. People have always come up to me. My reputation has always been that I'm open to the public. I'm open to everybody.

"Right now, I'm at a point in my life where all I want to do is spend time with my children and my friends. I've done my time. I've done it as respectfully as anyone can... I've not complained for nine years... I want to get back to my kids and my family," he said.

"Wherever we've been, it's always a crowd. This is not new to me. [But] rarely – even in the last 20 years – rarely, have I ever had people give me any negative stuff in the street... I'm pretty easily approachable. I've dealt with it my whole life, and I really don't see any problem dealing with the public at all," Simpson added.

OJ Simpson
The former NFL star was released from the Nevada Lovelock Correctional Center REUTERS/Ethan Miller