It's been two months since Jason Williams announced, with little fanfare, his retirement from the NBA, and it's about time we put his career in perspective.
To say that Williams was at any point in his 10-year career one of the best point guards in the NBA is simply untrue. Never did he make an All-Star team, nor did he ever win any major awards.
Yet, one thing that Williams did do was capture the imagination of basketball fans worldwide. No player was as flashy as "White Chocolate," and he had the unique ability to be a showman on the court while at the same time being a winner.
Seven out of his ten seasons his teams made the playoffs. He was the starting point guard on the 2006 Miami Heat team that won the title. His assist-to-turnover rate was among the league's best during the prime of his career.
These facts do not, however, do Williams justice when trying to illustrate how important he was to the league. The player who was once called the "Pete Maravich of hip-hop" by none other that Shaquille O'Neal was literally a SportsCenter highlight waiting to happen.
Who could forget the behind-the-back elbow pass to Raef LaFrenz in the Rookie All-Star game? Or how about the time he faked Gary Payton out of his shoes with a sudden change of direction that only Barry Sanders could duplicate? And what about the time he battled John Stockton as a rookie and the young Kings pushed a veteran Jazz team to an elimination game in the 1999 playoffs?
J-Will had the ability to make you jump out of your seat on the couch, run to the kitchen and say to your wife, "Honey, you gotta come in here and see this replay!" Even the wife could appreciate the sheer genius of his creativity.
Of course, there are the haters who say that Williams was more style than substance. Be that as it may, I think everyone would agree that his entertainment value alone makes his retirement something that demands the attention of basketball fans everywhere and is noteworthy, even if he never was a true superstar.
Jason, thank you for the memories. We will miss you. Heck, we already do.
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