Ray Williams (basketball)

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Ray Williams
Ray Williams (basketball).jpg
No. 13, 25, 20, 1, 11
Point guard
Personal information
Born (1954-10-14)October 14, 1954
Mount Vernon, New York
Died March 22, 2013(2013-03-22) (aged 58)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 188 lb (85 kg)
Career information
High school Mount Vernon
(Mount Vernon, New York)
College San Jacinto (1973–1975)
Minnesota (1975–1977)
NBA draft 1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Pro playing career 1977–1987
Career history
19771981 New York Knicks
1981–1982 New Jersey Nets
1982–1983 Kansas City Kings
1983–1984 New York Knicks
1985 Boston Celtics
1985 Atlanta Hawks
1986 San Antonio Spurs
1986–1987 New Jersey Nets
Career NBA statistics
Points 10,158 (15.5 ppg)
Assists 3,779 (5.8 apg)
Steals 1,198 (1.8 spg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Thomas Ray Williams (October 14, 1954 – March 22, 2013) was an American professional basketball player who played in the National Basketball Association from 1977 to 1987. Born in Mount Vernon, New York, he was the younger brother of Gus Williams, who also played in the NBA.

College career[edit]

Williams attended Mount Vernon High School and helped lead the school to two New York State basketball championships.[1]

After attending San Jacinto Junior College, Williams played at the University of Minnesota from 1975 to 1977. During that time, he averaged 18.9 ppg and 6.6 rpg.

NBA career[edit]

Williams was selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 1977 NBA Draft (10th pick overall).

After a quiet first season, he improved his effectiveness in the court, averaging 20.9 ppg, 5 rpg, and 6.2 apg during his third season (1979-80) and becoming the team captain during his fourth season. During his time with the Knicks, he reached the NBA Playoffs twice.

After four seasons with the Knicks, Williams was traded the New Jersey Nets on October 25, 1981, in exchange for Maurice Lucas.[2] With the Nets, Williams averaged 20.4 ppg, 4 rpg, and 6 apg (1981-82 season). On April 17, 1982, Williams scored 52 points in a game against the Detroit Pistons, for the highest-scoring game of his career, and the highest in Nets history until he was surpassed by Deron Williams' 57-point game on March 4, 2012. Williams eventually helped the Nets reach the 1982 NBA Playoffs where he averaged 17 ppg, 6 rpg, and 7 apg. However, they ended up being eliminated by the Washington Bullets in the first round.

On June 29, 1982, the Nets traded Williams to the Kansas City Kings for Phil Ford. After one season, they traded him back to the New York Knicks for Billy Knight and an amount of cash. He reached the playoffs once again with the Knicks, averaging 11.2 ppg and 8 apg.

In the middle of the 1984-85 season, Williams signed as a free agent with the Boston Celtics, in exchange for two future draft picks. During this year, he had the chance to play with Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. With Boston, he reached the playoffs one last time. This time, the Celtics reached the Finals, but were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Before the 1985-86 season, Williams signed with the Los Angeles Clippers, with Boston receiving a future draft pick as compensation. The Clippers, however, waived him before the season began.

Williams eventually signed with the Atlanta Hawks. After 19 games, he was waived by the Hawks, but signed with the San Antonio Spurs later. After 23 games, he was also waived by the Spurs and claimed by the Nets. Williams played the remainder of the season with them and remained with the team during the next season, after which he retired. Williams ended with a career average of 15.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, and 3.6 rpg.[3]

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  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

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1977–78 New York 81 ... 19.1 .443 ... .705 2.6 4.5 1.3 0.2 9.3
1978–79 New York 81 ... 29.3 .457 ... .802 3.6 6.2 1.6 0.2 17.3
1979–80 New York 82 ... 31.5 .496 .189 .787 5.0 6.2 2.0 0.3 20.9
1980–81 New York 79 ... 34.7 .461 .235 .817 4.1 5.5 2.3 0.5 19.7
1981–82 New Jersey 82 69 33.3 .462 .167 .832 4.0 6.0 2.4 0.5 20.4
1982–83 Kansas City 72 68 30.1 .392 .203 .769 4.5 7.9 1.7 0.4 15.4
1983–84 New York 76 63 29.3 .445 .309 .827 3.5 5.9 2.1 0.3 14.8
1984–85 Boston 23 5 20.0 .385 .261 .674 2.5 3.9 1.3 0.2 6.4
1985–86 Atlanta 19 12 19.3 .399 .364 .854 2.4 3.5 1.5 0.1 8.4
1985–86 San Antonio 23 9 17.3 .382 .333 .969 1.6 4.8 1.2 0.1 7.1
1985–86 New Jersey 5 0 12.6 .313 .000 .857 0.8 1.8 1.0 0.0 6.4
1986–87 New Jersey 32 14 25.0 .452 .250 .817 2.3 5.8 1.2 0.3 9.9
Career 655 240 28.2 .451 .237 .802 3.6 5.8 1.8 0.3 15.5

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1977–78 New York 6 ... 23.3 .526 ... .885 2.5 5.2 ... 0.0 17.5
1980–81 New York 2 ... 42.0 .439 .333 .545 4.0 4.5 ... 0.0 21.5
1981–82 New Jersey 2 ... 38.5 .298 .400 .800 6.0 7.0 ... 0.0 17.0
1983–84 New York 11 ... 28.2 .354 .167 .744 3.5 8.0 ... ... 11.2
1984–85 Boston 19 ... 14.6 .405 .133 .960 1.9 3.2 ... ... 6.3
Career 40 ... 22.2 .403 .200 .811 2.8 5.1 ... ... 10.6

Post-NBA career[edit]

After his retirement, Williams struggled financially, eventually filing for bankruptcy in 1994, which led him to lose his home and family. Williams decided to apply early for his NBA pension of $200,000. After he received it, he moved to Florida, where he fell victim to a real estate scam which worsened his financial condition.

After that, Williams worked various jobs like groundskeeper at a golf course in Central Florida, apartment complex maintenance man, part-time girls basketball coach, and bakery worker, among others. During that time, he also received grants from the NBA Retired Players Association, totaling $10,000, which couldn't help his situation.

According to a profile published in The Boston Globe in July 2010, he was unemployed and homeless, living inside a car in Pompano Beach, Florida. Williams spent his time fishing at the Hillboro Inlet Park in Pompano Beach, to help maintain himself. In November 2010, Williams' luck began to turn around as he took a job in Mount Vernon, New York, working for the city's Recreation Department as a "Recreation Specialist." Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton I. Young, Jr. was instrumental in bringing Williams back to his hometown. Williams was also helped by Linda Crawford, a nurse and a friend from his NBA days.[4] Williams married Linda Crawford in August 2011.

Death[edit]

Williams died March 22, 2013 at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, New York after suffering from colon cancer. Williams was 58.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldstein, Richard (March 24, 2013), "Ray Williams Dies at 58; Itinerant in Pros and Life", The New York Times 
  2. ^ Knicks get Lucas from New Jersey. The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
  3. ^ "The life of former NBA player Ray Williams". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  4. ^ "Huge rebound". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 
  5. ^ "Former Knicks star Williams dead at age 58". New York Post. Retrieved 22 March 2013. 

External links[edit]