Jason Williams: The Talent and Drive To Win
"White Chocolate would've thrown that pass!"
"The Thrilla in Vanilla would've shot that three!"
Not anymore though, fans of roundball.
Why? Because he's not stupid.
When Jason Williams was traded to the expansion Memphis Grizzlies prior to the 2001-2002 NBA season, it was supposed to be a short period of time before he couldn't find a job due to his often-erratic style of play.
His fall from grace in Sacramento was a sight to see. The once beloved rookie who dazzled fans with fake behind-the-back passes and pull-up threes was now a laughingstock to many fans as he tried to stake his claim as a team player.
"I'd rather have 15 assists than 50 points," stated Williams during his rookie season during an interview.
So why, then, do fans still believe he is a showboat? Maybe it's the YouTube highlights that feature new mixes of J-Dub regularly. Maybe it's the cult following formed when he was in Sacramento. Maybe it's the loveable underdog story we as Americans love to tell.
The 6'1" white guy that weighs a buck eighty and is considered one of the greatest ball handlers ever and can seemingly score at will when called upon is a great story to tell.
J-Will is such a natural talent that he was still a top-10 pick, which is rare enough for point guards, and he only played half of his senior season at Florida due to his dismissal from the team for violating team rules.
The majority of NBA fans still think Williams is a showboat, as the image was carved into their skulls after watching his SportsCenter highlights and the occasional behind-the-back bounce pass fly out of bounds.
This is the same player that now owns an NBA championship ring and is an annual member of the NBA's top assist to turnover ratio leaders. He also learned how to become a role player, playing off of superstar Dwyane Wade for three seasons in Miami. Will he be back on South Beach? Probably not.
The Orlando Magic are pursuing the Orlando resident as you read this. Or, maybe they're not as this is being read after he signed, or five years down the road. In any event, play along.
Williams' agent, Dan Tobin, has stated that he has received interest in Jason from roughly six teams, and that the 32-year-old point guard could still start for a number of them.
His role with the Magic would most likely be backing up emerging star Jameer Nelson, providing veteran leadership, and earning between $2-4 million per season. Also involved would be throwing oops to freak-of-nature Dwight Howard, and most likely taking whomever the Heat start at point guard to school.
Williams is considered washed up by many "experts" of the league, and his best years are behind him. Are they?
Despite playing on an ankle he sprained twice during the game, Williams dropped his highest point total with the Heat (34) on the Magic and received praise from around the league for playing through agony as the Heat had already been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs months before.
Oh, but he's old now. (I'd challenge anyone not 6'9" or over reading this, including my gigantic 6'1" self, to go score two points in an NBA game. Not to mention on one leg. Ok, some of you may accomplish this, but for the sake of the article keep it to yourself. I'm trying to make a point.)
So, J-Will is looking for the right place to sign. A role with the Orlando Magic would add possibly another championship ring to his trophy case in the near future, adding to the great story to tell of a once-maligned star player that took the flash from his game, threw it out, and bought into his role as a leader and point guard for the Heat, or any team that needed him.
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