On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with T. J. Ford. Terrance Jerod “T. J.” Ford was born on March 24, 1983 in Baytown, Texas. From a young age, Ford dreamed of being a basketball player.
Before long, Ford experienced championship success for himself when he led Willowridge High School to the Class 5A Texas State Basketball Championship. His team was so dominant during that period, with teammates Daniel Ewing and Ivan McFarland, that they posted a 62 game winning streak. After high school, he decided to stay close to home and play basketball at the University of Texas at Austin.
It was at UT that Ford’s career as a basketball player really began to take off; he was the first freshman to lead the NCAA in assists per game. In 2003, he was named the John Wooden Player of the Year after leading the Longhorns to their first Final Four appearance since 1947. Also, he was named Player of the Year by Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, ESPN.com and CBS SportsLine. After two impressive years on the Forty Acres, Ford decided it was time to become a professional.
With the eighth pick in the 2003 draft, the Milwaukee Bucks selected the Texas guard known for his lightning quick speed and playmaking abilities. He was immediately inserted into the starting lineup for the Bucks where he averaged 7 points, 6 assists, and a steal per game before suffering a season ending spinal injury. The injury forced him to miss the entire 2004-2005 season as well.
Ford played eight seasons in the NBA with the Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs before retiring during the 2011-12 season. He currently sponsors and coaches a Houston-based AAU program, T.J. Ford Elite, which emphasizes basketball training and development along with life skills and college preparation. He also continues to be heavily involved with the T.J. Ford Foundation, an organization created in 2004 to help participants achieve their academic, personal and civil goals.