Recently retired San Antonio Spurs point guard T.J. Ford is always going to have his list of “what if’s.” What if he hadn’t gotten badly injured in his rookie season? What if he had been able to play out his full career without the constant fear of permanent paralysis? What if he had reached his full potential? What would that have looked like for Ford?
If you ask him, he’ll tell you he wouldn’t have disappointed.
"If not for injuries, of course I felt like I would have been one of the dominant guys in the NBA, one of the elite point guards," Ford said. "I never actually got to the full potential."
Of course, we’ll never know, but I like to think he’s right. Watching him play at Texas, I knew T.J. was something special. He had a determination and knack for the game that was undeniable. I really think he would have matured into one of the best in the game if he hadn’t been almost paralyzed during a collision his rookie year.
He tried as hard as he could to play with his injuries, but it was clear he never made it to the level he was capable of. Defying the odds and going against doctors’ orders, he continued to give his best, but it was only good enough to be a backup in this league.
Even with all the “what if’s,” I Ford made the right decision to retire. He has other things to worry about besides his legacy as a basketball player. Rather than risk paralysis and continue to play in the NBA, he can play with his son and start training him to be the next great point guard instead.