So now I was a Bullet, and that bad dream, which had started out to be such a beautiful one in my first season (in San Diego) and turned into a nightmare lasting the next three years (in Houston), turned beautiful again . . .
. . . I knew I was now saddled with the reputation of a troublemaker, a malcontent, a guy who causes trouble on every team he plays for. It was the exact opposite of my reputation over nine years of high school, college and my first season in San Diego. It was unjust and untrue, but it was there and I knew it . . .
. . . The simple fact that the Bullets were willing to take me told me something. It told me that either they thought or knew I wasn't that way or that they were at least willing to take a chance that I would find happiness and harmony, again, with them. They were right on both counts . . .
. . . I know some fans and writers think I'm too passive, that I should get in there with fists flying, and throw some bodies around and commit all sorts of violence and then I'll be a better player. I'm not going to do that, and if a few people who don't know any better think that makes me a coward, then that's the way it will have to be. I'm one of the league leaders every year in rebounds, and the most physical place in the world is under an NBA backboard . . .
. . . I don't believe in defiance and disobedience and death just because you disagree with someone. That's no better than what the drunks used to do in Rayville (La.) on Saturday night. I believed, and still do, that you work within the system . . .
. . . I'm well-paid but I'm far from being the highest-paid professional athlete, or even the highest-paid professional athlete, or even the highest-paid professional basketball player - and yet nobody should be making as much money as I am for playing a game . . .
. . . Schoolteachers and ministers and police officers all have trouble making ends meet, while people in pro sports and entertainment draw salaries which fans have trouble believing. It seems to feed on itself, too. Free agents and draft choices make demands that the fans, who are paying our salaries, can't even comprehend, much less agree with . . . our sense of values gets twisted all out of reality and morality . . .
. . . I won't feel any sadness when my time comes to leave basketball. I'll miss my teammates and the fans and the reporters, but that's all. I won't miss the glory, and I won't even miss the money. That's because I will be hearing and spreading a new message: Try God. I may do it as a minister or a church worker or in some other way, but I know I'll do it one way or another . . .
. . . I don't ask anyone to be around me, and I don't ask to be around anyone. I don't try to force the players to like me or dislike me. Some of my teammates and some of the press and some of the public might doubt my beliefs and make fun of them and think I'm some kind of weirdo or religious freak. I can't worry about that or waste my time thinking about it. I am the way I am and others are the way they are, and that's just the way it is.