Today San Antonio Spurs point guard TJ Ford decided that it was time to throw in the towel on his NBA career. By no means am I calling Ford a quitter. He succeeded in beating the odds for sticking around this long but sometimes enough is enough.
Ford told reporters that lying motionless March 7 on the court against the New York Knicks wasn’t the first time it had happened, and he decided to walk away while he still had a chance. He was playing just his 14th game in an injury-prone season when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the ground.
“If it’s anybody else, it’s just a regular play,” Ford said at a Spurs practice before Monday’s game against Washington. “But because of me and my condition, a simple elbow in the back has a different outcome than hitting someone else in the back.”
Due to a surgically repaired spine, Ford never became the big star that may thought he would be when he came out of Texas after his sophomore year. There were flashes of the talent that made Ford a collegiate star, where he transformed Texas into a legitimate basketball school. But he was often injured which include a year on the sidelines after undergoing spinal fusion surgery.
The ever positive Ford doesn't look at his exit negatively. That's just the kind of person he is. He knows he played against doctor's advice and seems to look back fondly on his career.
“I think I succeeded at beating the odds, of being the little guy, making it to the NBA and lasting as long as I did,” Ford said. “I think I achieved a lot. I know I didn’t have the career I anticipated and everyone anticipated, me having been the player of the year (at Texas). But I think I still had a successful career.”
It's sad to see that Ford will not leave the game on his own terms. The Ford I remember was a dazzling point guard leading the Texas Longhorns to the Final Four in a thriller of a game against the Carmelo Anthony led Syracuse team. I would like to see him stay around the game because I feel that Ford could make a smooth transition to the coaching ranks.
Good luck in the future TJ.