San Antonio Spurs guard T.J. Ford announced today that he is officially retiring from the NBA after multiple neck and spine injuries throughout his eight-year NBA career, the most recent being a neck stinger he suffered against the New York Knicks on Wednesday.
“I’ve been avoiding doctors’ orders for years and dodging a lot of bullets,” Ford, just 28-years-old, said of the stinger, via SpursNation.com. “This isn’t the first time I’ve laid down on the court and not had the strength to really move. I’m just trying to get out while I still have a chance. When you are laying down there, you don’t know what the next outcome is going to be.”
Ford, the 8th pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2003 NBA Draft, announced his retirement on Twitter and, in a statement released by the team, said:
“While this was a tough decision to make, it is what is best for me and my family at this time. I have been blessed to play alongside wonderful teammates for great coaches and organizations from high school, to college, to the NBA. Regardless of what the future holds, I will carry the experiences, the friendships and the memories with me forever. The support I’ve received from family, friends and the fans has been humbling and I am looking forward to evaluating my professional options following this season.”
Following TJ’s retirement announcement, multiple NBA players took to twitter to offer best wishes to the one time NCAA Wooden player of the year. They included the Knicks’ Davis, who said he talked with Ford by phone Monday.
“Sad that he is retiring and feeling worse that I was involved in that play! love and respect bro,” Davis tweeted.
LeBron James, picked first overall the same year Ford was drafted, tweeted:
“Man sorry to hear about my 03 draft classmate TJ Ford! Get healthy and hopefully see u back on the court someday!”
Over the course of his career, T.J. Ford played in 429 games, averaging 11.2 points, 5.8 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.16 steals in 27.7 minutes per game.