Jason Williams (basketball, born 1975)
Williams with the Miami Heat in February 2007
|No. 55, 2, 44, 3|
November 18, 1975 |
Belle, West Virginia
|Listed height||6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school||DuPont (Belle, West Virginia)|
|NBA draft||1998 / Round: 1 / Pick: 7th overall|
|Selected by the Sacramento Kings|
|Pro playing career||1998–2011|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||8,266 (10.5 ppg)|
|Assists||4,611 (5.9 apg)|
|Steals||933 (1.2 spg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Jason Chandler Williams (born November 18, 1975) is an American former basketball player who was a point guard in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for twelve seasons during the late 1990s and 2000s. A native of West Virginia, Williams played college basketball for Marshall University and the University of Florida. The Sacramento Kings selected him in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft. Besides the Kings, Williams also played for the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic.
Williams was born in Belle, West Virginia. He attended the now-defunct DuPont High School in Belle, where he played high school basketball for the DuPont Panthers. In 1994, and led his high school team to the state championship before being defeated in the final. He became the only player in DuPont team history to reach 1,000 points and 500 assists. USA Today named Williams the West Virginia Player of the Year in 1994. Future National Football League wide receiver Randy Moss was one of Williams' high school basketball teammates.
Williams originally committed to play college basketball for Providence College, but instead chose to attend Marshall University after Providence coach Rick Barnes left for Clemson. At Marshall, he played for coach Billy Donovan's Marshall Thundering Herd men's basketball team from 1994 to 1996. After redshirting his first season, he averaged 13.4 points and 6.4 assists per game during his 1995–96 freshman year.
When Marshall coach Billy Donovan accepted the head coaching position at the University of Florida in the summer of 1996, Williams decided to transfer and follow Donovan to Florida. After sitting out the 1996–97 season as required by the NCAA transfer rule, he became the starting point guard for the Florida Gators men's basketball team during the 1997–98 season, and set a Florida Gators single-game record with 17 assists in a December 3, 1997 game against Duquesne. Through twenty games, he averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 assists and 2.8 steals per game, and led the Gators to an 86–78 upset of the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington. In February 1998, however, the University of Florida suspended him for the remainder of the season for marijuana use, after two previous suspensions for the same infraction.
In his rookie year, the Kings, with a roster that included newcomers Williams, Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, and Peja Stojaković, turned into a playoff contender. That year, Williams' number 55 jersey was among the top five sellers of all NBA players.
On July 20, 2000, Williams was suspended for the first five games of the 2000–01 NBA season for failure to comply with his treatment obligations under the NBA's anti-drug program. The NBA does not release details of violations of the anti-drug program.
In 2001, the Sacramento Kings traded Williams to the Vancouver Grizzlies for Mike Bibby. (The team relocated to Memphis, Tennessee). With head coach Sidney Lowe, the team improved insignificantly. In 2002, General Manager Jerry West hired Hubie Brown out of retirement to coach the team. The team improved by a franchise record 28 wins in Brown's first season.
On August 2, 2005, Williams and teammate James Posey were two of thirteen players involved in the biggest trade in league history that saw them being dealt to the Miami Heat in exchange for shooting guard Eddie Jones.
Williams started at point guard for the Heat in the 2005–06 campaign and started throughout the 2006 Playoffs. A knee injury caused him to miss some games. In Game 6 of the Eastern Finals against the Detroit Pistons, Williams scored 21 points on 10 of 11 shooting in the series clinching game. Williams won his first NBA championship on June 20, 2006 when the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals in six games. During the finals, Williams averaged 12 points and five assists.
In the 2006–07 season, Jason was limited to 61 games, of which he started 55. He averaged 10.9 points and 5.3 assists, which did not meet his career averages of 11.7 and 6.5. His play dropped dramatically in the postseason, averaging 5.8 points per game and 3.5 assists per game. His struggles contributed to the Heat being swept by the Bulls in four games in the very first round of the playoffs.
In the 2007–08 season, Williams played 67 games while averaging 8.8 points and 4.6 assists per game. He shot 38 percent from the field, 87 percent from the line, 35 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and averaged 1.3 steals per game. His best month was March where he averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 assists while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc and 42 percent from the field. Also in March, he had 34 points versus Orlando, connecting on five three-point baskets. He had two double-doubles: one against Phoenix and one against the Bucks. Both were 21 point, 10 assist performances.
In the summer of 2008, Williams reached an agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers on what was believed to be one-year deal. However, on September 26, 2008 Williams announced his retirement from the NBA after 10 years due to persistent injuries.
On August 19, 2009, Williams came out of retirement and signed with the Orlando Magic.
On January 26, 2011, Williams was waived by the Orlando Magic. He returned to the Memphis Grizzlies on February 7, 2011. On April 18, 2011, Williams officially announced his second retirement from the NBA.
- June 24, 1998: Drafted 7th overall by Sacramento Kings in 1998 NBA Draft.
- June 27, 2001: Traded by Sacramento along with Nick Anderson to the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies for Mike Bibby and Brent Price.
- August 3, 2005: Traded by Memphis to the Miami Heat as part of five-team deal (Miami also acquired James Posey and Andre Emmett from Memphis, Antoine Walker from Boston Celtics and draft rights of Roberto Dueñas from New Orleans Hornets; Memphis acquired Eddie Jones from Miami and Raúl López from Utah Jazz; New Orleans acquired Rasual Butler from Miami and Kirk Snyder from Utah; Boston acquired Qyntel Woods, draft rights of Albert Miralles, two future second-round draft picks from Miami and Curtis Borchardt from Utah; Utah acquired Greg Ostertag from Memphis).
- August 19, 2009: Signed with the Orlando Magic.
- August 3, 2010: Re-signs with the Orlando Magic.
- January 26, 2011: Waived by the Orlando Magic.
- February 7, 2011: Returned to the Memphis Grizzlies
- April 18, 2011: Retired from the NBA at age 35
Early in his career, Williams built a reputation for an unorthodox "street" style of play. He became a regular on SportsCenter for his spectacular passes and dazzling assists. He regularly attempted, and mostly completed passes such as behind-the back, no-look and half-court. Popular user-generated video Internet sites contain many "home-made" highlight videos dedicated solely to Williams's highlights. He was also known for taking spectacular three-point shots that drove home-audiences wild. With his risky play, he at times was turnover-prone: in his second and fourth years, he peaked at over 3.5 per game. His playing style led Williams to be benched during crucial periods of some games. For example, in the 2000 NBA Playoffs, Williams sat out most of the fourth quarter in all five games against the Lakers.
In his later years with Memphis and Miami, he significantly tamed his extravagant playing style and consistently achieved one of the highest assists per turnover ratios in the NBA.
In the Rookie Challenge of the NBA All-Star Weekend in 2000, Williams made a seemingly impossible behind-his-back pass off the elbow on a full sprint to Raef LaFrentz. "I did it so you all wouldn't ask me to ever do it again," Williams said.
Williams' nickname was "White Chocolate." The nickname was started in Williams' rookie year by Stephanie Shepard, a media relations assistant with the Sacramento Kings. "I came up with that name because of his style," Shepard said. "He has flash and pizazz. The way he does things with the ball is incredible to me. It reminds me of, like, schoolyard street ball when I go to Chicago."
He also went by the nicknames "J-Will" and "J-Dub", and has "WHITEBOY" tattooed on his knuckles.
Despite his NBA success, Williams prefers to stay out of the spotlight and lives a low-key lifestyle, spending time with his family. Williams married Denika Kisty, a University of Florida alumna, a former member of the Florida Gators track and field team, and an All-American javelin thrower. Williams and his wife have three children; in his NBA profile, he listed his family as his "most treasured possession."
Williams is a close friend of former Miami Heat teammate and center Shaquille O'Neal, having been neighbors in Orlando for three years. "I was the one who helped broker the deal this summer," O'Neal said (in 2005) of the five-team, 13-player trade that brought Williams to Miami. "He wanted to play with me and I wanted to play with a guard who loves to pass and I think it'll be a good combination for myself and [guard] Dwyane Wade."
Williams also has a number of tattoos, which include a panther on his right arm, a dragon on his left arm (which was redone in the 2007–2008 season), an eye on his chest of which he said, "It's why I pass so good, I have a 3rd eye". In the 2000–2001 season, he had a wolf holding a basketball on his arm, and "WHITEBOY" tattooed across his knuckles. He also has his children's names on his forearms.
On February 28, 2001, Williams, while playing for the Sacramento Kings, allegedly shouted racist slurs to Michael Ching, a Golden State Warriors season ticket holder, and to several other Asian Americans seated beside Ching during a Warriors game at the Oakland Arena. As recounted by a letter Ching sent to NBA commissioner David Stern, Williams retaliated against heckling made by Ching and his party midway through the first half.
The NBA eventually levied a $15,000 fine on Jason Williams for cursing at fans. Nike decided to change a planned advertising campaign featuring Williams as a result of his alleged actions as well. Williams has since apologized for the incident.
After Memphis was swept by Phoenix in the 2005 NBA Playoffs, Williams was reportedly involved in an altercation with Geoff Calkins, a columnist for the Commercial Appeal. Sources said that Williams screamed in Calkins' ear and took his pen away from him. Calkins had previously quoted Williams as saying, "I'm happy. I go home and see my kids and my wife and I'm OK. All of this [stuff] is secondary to me."
Calkins was critical of the Grizzlies' lackadaisical play and had alleged that Williams did not care about winning basketball games. Williams was fined $10,000 for the incident on May 4, 2005. Williams maintained that the quotations were out of context, especially after Williams had delivered spectacular performances during the series, despite the Grizzlies' loss.
Social and charitable work
In 2003, Jason Williams, when he was playing for the Memphis Grizzlies, along with Dr. Bob Wallace of the UT Medical Group founded the We Will Foundation, a charitable foundation to benefit children facing treatment for craniofacial deformities.
Williams was also a frequent visitor to St. Jude Children's Hospital when he was at Memphis. "I started going over not long after I got here," said Williams, who has always said he likes to be around kids. "I go see them when I can, and it's great to see their faces light up!"
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
- "HEAT Unveils Top 25 Players of All -Time". NBA.com. December 8, 2008. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
- National Basketball Association, Players, Jason Williams. Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- "Promising UF hoops player quits," Ocala Star-Banner (February 27, 1997). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- "Marshall to allow Williams to transfer," The Ledger (July 3, 1996). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Associated Press, "Williams takes charge in Florida's 100–85 victory," Ocala Star-Banner, p. 6C (November 19, 1997). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- 2011–12 Florida Gators Men's Basketball Media Guide, University Athletic Association, Gainesville, Florida, pp. 10, 48, 71, 72, 74, 80, 81, 84–85, 156, 160, 161, 164, 181 (2011). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Associated Press, "Gators drop Jason Williams for remainder of season," Ocala Star-Banner (February 18, 1998). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- "Florida stuns Kentucky; New Mexico tops Utah," The Post and Courier, p. 4C (February 2, 1998). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Associated Press, "Williams hit with 5-game suspension," The Gainesville Sun, p. 1C (July 21, 2000). Retrieved July 22, 2012.
- Wise, Mike (April 27, 1999). "His Game, and Name, Create Stir; Jason (White Chocolate) Williams Sets Off Debate on Stereotypes". NY Times. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
- Kings' Williams Is Suspended. Associated Press. The New York Times, July 21, 2000.
- "Magic Sign Free Agent Jason Williams". NBA.com. August 19, 2009. Retrieved August 29, 2009.
- Grizzlies sign G Jason Williams
- Heat Acquire Antoine Walker, Jason Williams & James Posey
- Rookies outlast sophs in OT
- 2008 University of Florida Track and Field Media Guide
- Chris Perkins, "Not Apologetic, Just Himself," The Palm Beach Post (October 10, 2005).
- "Solving NBA's tattoo riddles". New York Post. September 1, 2003. 11.
- Jason Williams Tattoos
- Weinstein, Brad. "Williams Accused Of Slurs", San Francisco Chronicle, 16 March 2001.
- Callanan, Neil. "Nike jumps as white star falls from grace", The Sunday Business Post, 29 April 2001.
- "Williams Says Sorry for Racist Slurs", Associated Press. AsianWeek, 5 April 2001.
- Memphis guard angry over column, Associated Press, 2 May 2005.
- "Grizzlies' Williams fined $10,000 for berating media", Associated Press, USA Today, May 4, 2005.
- Darr, Jimmy Inaugural Golf Tournament to benefit Newly Formed We Will Foundation MSGM
- Dixon, Oscar On the record: Williams grows into a Grizzlies veteran, USA Today
- Career statistics and player information from NBA.com