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

Zach: You played in Estonia, Poland, Spain. Talk to us about playing overseas. How did it compare to the NBA, what did it teach you as a player and more importantly as a person?

Tony: Man, overseas taught me tremendously. I was always the guy who always had my friends around. I had my routine, what I ate, you know I’m a very picky eater. So going overseas, going by myself, being [in] a different culture, different food, one of the biggest things that helped train me is that I became comfortable being uncomfortable.

Once I became comfortable being uncomfortable there was nothing that was foreign to me I couldn’t adapt to. A lot of people don’t know this but, the NBA players are the best of the best but as far as team defense, as far as the games, overseas basketball is a lot harder. In the NBA they shoot too well to play zone, you can’t play zone because of defensive three seconds. you can do all of that overseas, there’s no three seconds in the key… people play zone defense. It’s a whole different game, you can see how guys like Luka come over and destroy and that’s why I feel like being able to come over here, it opened me up in life, in general, and it turned me into a monster on the court. I can’t wait to show my NBA peers that.

Zach: You just kind of answered this question but why now? What is it about this moment that makes you know “I’m ready to come back to the NBA and I’m going to take it by storm”.

Tony: The first sign of change is admitting your wrongs and the reason I’m not in the NBA has nothing to do with basketball. It was all my immaturity. Going overseas and I loved it but you realize “I want to be back in the NBA”. It humbles you, it matures you. I always told myself, “when I get back I know what to do and what not to do”. Being able to show the growth and how much I’ve matured… That’s what I’m looking forward to showing people the most because I know they’re going to be watching… And I’m excited for it.

James: Obviously you’re still hungry, you’re still young like we had said before. We don’t want to pry but is there interest? Are you interested in anything specifically… is there potentially a comeback in Philadelphia?

Tony: Man honestly, I don’t care WHO it is, NBA is NBA. I’ll be blessed and thankful to come back for any team but Philadelphia is a special place. I was able to take my career off and show the world who I really was basketball-wise. The way I’m loved in Philadelphia…the way my name is still spoken of out there…for me to be a few years removed from Philadelphia, it just [holds] a special place in my heart. Like I said…any team [would be a blessing] but it just hits different when it’s Philadelphia.

Zach: You’ve talked a lot about what you’ve taken away from your time overseas, kind of a focus on your comeback. Do you feel like there’s one particular area of your game that you’ve added on… that you perfected or maybe expanded while you were over there?

Tony: Yes my attitude. That hurt me a lot. Looking back at my younger self. Being able to mature and know what’s better for a team and not just yourself. Working hard every day you’re going to continue to get better on the court but for me, I wanted to really hold my hat on not giving [anybody] anything negative to say. Everything that people were saying, the reason I’m out of the league, I wrote that down and I’d look at it when I’m overseas and it’s just a reminder… In order for me to get back, I can’t do those things, I have to get better than this, I have to be better than that. I’m really working on everything, not just on the court… The NBA is not just all about on the court, you’re global you know so you’re looked at as a celebrity, it’s more than just basketball. I’ve been really working on myself in general and really getting into me and knowing when that time comes… I’ll be more than ready.

Zach: Before we go, did you have a message that you just want to put out there in the universe for NBA teams on why they should consider bringing you back?

Tony: Because I’m better than who I was, I’m 10 times better. Any team that wants to sign Tone…it’s gonna be a steal. I just use that as motivation and I’m coming so just know that.

Confident words from a man changed by experience. While Wroten may have changed in many ways (all for the better from the sound of it), one thing remains the same. He still has the same passion that endeared him to Sixers fans.

You can hear the who interview along with some discussion on the Sixers’ recent scrimmages below:

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I can’t thank Tony enough for taking the time with us. Follow him on Twitter @TWroten_LOE to track his comeback and we’ll certainly give updates as they come.

Tony, we’ll see you again in the NBA, hopefully is Sixers’ red, white and blue.

 Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports