Defensive awards and accolades aside, to have your jersey retired puts you in a position where you'll be known forever.
I don't believe being a Hall of Famer is based on individual accolades. I think winning has a lot to do with it. But perhaps more than that, you simply have to show that you are the best or among the best at what you do.
Things for me really started to click right after my third year in the league. I sort of figured out that there were a few things that I needed to do if I wanted to get better - I needed to gain some more weight and add some strength.
As a player, NBA All-Star Weekend contains a lot of joy and a lot of excitement. Even with all the hype built into the game, it's really a special honor to be selected among many great players.
The All-Star Game was one of my top highlights as a player. In my eye, it gave me a good idea of where I ranked among my peers. That was always my benchmark to say that I am still in the upper echelon of players.
As a young player, achieving All-Star status isn't as easy as you might think.
I wouldn't give Charles Barkley an apology at gunpoint. He can never expect an apology from me... If anything, he owes me an apology for coming to play with his sorry, fat butt.
I want to thank the NBA and U.S.A. Basketball. Words can't describe my feeling. I was a small town kid from Hamburg, Arkansas, and you provided me a platform to live out my passion, the game of basketball, on the world's grandest stage.
For me, getting your number retired is the greatest accomplishment. There is no accolade with more significance that you can receive from an organization or school. Whether it was my four years at Central Arkansas or all my seasons with the Bulls in Chicago, it's a sign of respect for what I have done.
There are a lot of people from my Central Arkansas days that I owe a lot of thanks to for how they helped me over the years.
The odds were against me when I arrived at Central Arkansas. I was barely 6-foot-2 and didn't have a scholarship. But I always felt I could make it to the NBA; it was as if I had foreseen my future, and I knew I would make it.
When I got to Central Arkansas, I was a small, slim guy with little chance of playing in the NBA. Then, I went through a two-year growth spurt, and suddenly, I was 6-foot-7.
When you get some easy baskets, the basket definitely looks like it's much larger.
When it's late in a game and things are tough and you need a basket, someone has to step up. That player has to have the ability to create opportunities and draw fouls.
No guy on the basketball court is a threat to score with LeBron James out there. Not only will LeBron dominate from the offensive end as well, but he's also doing it on the defensive end, which really makes him the complete package.
He lifted weights, he rode the bike; he kept himself going before and after games, as well as practices. He always kept himself in top shape and was very determined. You put a relentless Dennis Rodman out on the basketball court, and you better have someone there to match his energy. If you don't, it's going to be a long night.
I had watched Magic my whole career, even before my career, and so I knew the style of player that he was, and I knew what I had to do to prohibit him from being as effective on the basketball court as he had been throughout his career.
It's not always about getting better on the basketball court. This game teaches you how to become a better person as well. It pushes you into the team concept.
College was a very necessary step along the way to my professional career. As I look back, I realize how much of an eye opener it was for me in terms of moving forward and developing as a basketball player.
We grew up in a small house with four bedrooms. I shared a bedroom with three brothers. But I enjoy the way that I was brought up. It kept me hungry. It kept me humble.