I always had high hopes for T.J. Ford. I think a lot of people did. When he led the Longhorns to the Final Four back in 2003 he just had the look of somebody that was going to be a special player.
Unfortunately, sometimes injuries trump potential.
We will never know what Ford could have been. A freak injury during his rookie year resulted in spinal surgery and the loss of an entire season. He wasn’t ever the same after that. He mostly played the backup role instead of the All-Star one I thought he’d be playing.
He’s gone against doctors’ orders for years by continuing to play in the NBA, putting his health and his future at risk every time he stepped onto the court. But after a scare against the Knicks, he decided it was time to call it quits.
I don’t blame Baron Davis for what happened, I think it was an aggressive play that just ended with a terrible result. Davis tweeted that he talked to Ford on Monday.
“Great phone convo wit @TJ Ford. sad that he is retiring and feeling worse that I was involved in that play! love and respect bro. #tears”
As much as I’d like to hope that this retirement isn’t permanent, I know that spine and neck injuries are nothing to mess with. I’d love to see T.J. Ford back out on the court again, but if an elbow to the back is enough to leave him lying on the court unable to move for a few minutes, he’s smart to take that as his last warning.
I know he’s making the right decision to retire, but it sucks to look back and wonder what could have been. T.J. Ford could have been one of the greats, it just wasn’t in the cards.