By J.J. Colagrande

02_teflon-jones6I’m Teflon Jones. The kid who could’ve had the world: fame, money, glamour, pussy. The kid who walked away from what thousands of athlete’s dream of. For a large part of my life I had no choice but to see the world—to see myself—as the way people told me. A son of a celebrity—a celebrity in my own right. The way I was brought up—the things I achieved—they don’t make me. What makes me is my will—my power. Am I thinking about the millions of dollars I walked away from? No. Am I fiending for a basketball? Am I jonesing for The Cage? Not really. Although, since I’m in Chi-town, it would be cool to peep out the United Center and see in the rafters the retired red jersey of old number twenty-three, my childhood idol. Am I sorry I let down my pops? Hell no. I feel bad I let down the Knicks—but whatever—a head listens to his heart. The best part of being at the show is no one bothered me about basketball. And something changed. I feel a bizarre confidence. You could see it in my eyes. I changed when I walked away from basketball. I’m a warrior now. And the only way a warrior can act is without reservation. Can you deviate from the path your fellow men have lined up for you? If you can’t, you’re fixed forever with their terms, and that’s slavery. There isn’t an ounce of regret to weigh and sell. Life is an endless challenge, and challenges are not meant to be good or bad. I took action and died in the process. Now I’m in Chicago. I helped my brother when my brother asked. I went to battle. I acted. I don’t need to listen to TLC or live vicariously through a reality television show to know I’m a Survivor. Shit—Teflon Jones is a hunter in control. No one will push me around. So the world’s a little weird. It’s weird not because of its obstacles, not because it’s boring, the world’s weird because of its mystery. I’m aware. I’m intent on living. Every moment’s a new moment and there comes a moment when you realize you can cut anything out of your life like what, like in the blink of an eye. No time for regret, you make your decisions, and you go your way, free. My way led to Soldier’s Field not the NBA. And there’s no time to worry because there’s a thousand other decisions to be made and a thousand more after that. If I’m patient—if I can wait—I’ll succeed. I’ll succeed without stress but with effort. That’s the warrior’s way right there.

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