Former Sixer Tony Wroten opens up on his fight to return to the NBA

When one looks back on “The Process” there is a long list of players you might think about. From Joel Embiid to Robert Covington, from Khalif Wyatt to Jarvis Varnado. The spectrum of players was vast and they all left an impact in their own unique way. One player who was especially meaningful during his time was Tony Wroten.

A 6’5″ guard who can bounce out of the gym, Wroten was drafted in the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2012. After a rookie year with limited opportunity, Wroten was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for a second-round pick.

While in Philadelphia, Wroten began to separate himself as a player. He showed a hunger for the game and an ability to defend, ability to pass, and maybe most impressive as all, an ability to score with the best of them.

Beyond his impact on the court, Wroten was absolutely beloved by the fan base. His passion for the came became the reason to watch Sixers’ games even though the team wasn’t exactly competitive. While there may have been times fans were screaming at him for this or that, fans in Philadelphia don’t do that unless they care. Wroten was also the one who coined the phrase “Trust the Process“. Wroten’s blue-collar approach endeared him to this city and it was expected that he would be around for years to come.

Wroten’s career was unfortunately derailed by a torn ACL. After his injury, he attempted a comeback with the Sixers, then tried with the Knicks, went to the G League, and eventually landed in Europe. It seemed like an unfortunate end to one of Philly’s favorites. At least so it seemed.

The Comeback

Then came the announcement.

After nearly five years from his last NBA game, Tony Wroten announced his intentions to return to the league. After all, he is still only 27 years of age and maybe even picked up a thing or two in his time in Europe. Why now though? What makes Tony think he’s ready to return or even that the league is ready for him to return? I, along with Sean Barnard and James Birrane, spoke with Tony about everything from his time in Philly, to those very questions about his comeback.

Here are some selections from the interview:

Zach: Tony, I’m sure you get this all the time but the first thing I want to make sure, how are you making out with the whole quarantine, you and your family, you guys all healthy?

Tony: Yeah two sides really, I’ve been quarantined all my life, cause you know. I can be at home and enjoy myself. I’m big on video games, spending time with my family. That’s not a big issue, just everything going on in this world and how something so scary can shut down this world it becomes real scary. So really I’ve been blessed that my family and loved ones are all healthy, so I’ve just been cherishing that and spending time with them.

Zach: Glad to hear that… We’re so excited to have you on, we’re all Sixers fans in addition to doing this and for all of us you were a big part of “The Process”. I’d love to talk to you about the whole spectrum of what you’ve experienced in the NBA so far, and what I really want to know is what’s to come because I feel like the best of Tony is yet to come.

Tony: Exactly. Philly has a special place in my heart, everything we’ve been through there and me being one of the originators of “The Process”. Me being there through the ups and downs and being there for JoJo Embiid, when he was injured two years in a row. Philly, the city in general, man they’ll always be a home to home for me and you know I love it. You know a dream come true, me coming back so we’re just waiting on it.

Zach: You know, Philly fans and I’m sure you’re aware, they loved you right away for your Grit n’ Grind passion, it really matched well with the city. Where do you think that comes from?

Tony: Just upbringing really. Real hard-nosed and a lot of people know now but Seattle, you know, a lot of really great basketball players [were around] growing up. That’s one thing I love about Philly, even though we weren’t winning a lot, they’re still going to cheer like we’re in the Finals. They still want you to play with that tough Philadelphia nitty-gritty and not everybody can play here. Some people love it and some [people] hate it but once you’re loved by Philly it’s a love that’s so genuine and to this day I get Philly fans and it’s just more motivation for me to keep going.

Continued on the page below.

 Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports