John "Hot Rod" Williams
|Born||August 9, 1962|
|Died||December 11, 2015 (aged 53)|
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|High school||St. Amant (St. Amant, Louisiana)|
|NBA draft||1985 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45th overall|
|Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|1985||Rhode Island Gulls|
|1986||Staten Island Stallions|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||9,784 (11.0 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,998 (6.8 rpg)|
|Blocks||1,456 (1.6 bpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Williams was born in Sorrento, Louisiana, a small town near Baton Rouge. He got the nickname "Hot Rod" as a baby due to his habit of making engine-like noises as he scooted backwards across the floor.
A 6'11" power forward/center, he played collegiately at Tulane University, leaving as that school's second all-time leading scorer. According to a Tulane booster club president, Williams was nearly kicked off the team in his sophomore year "for missing practices and for being unreliable". Additionally, he was a marginal student at best. He barely maintained a C average in high school, and had barely passed the SAT. At Tulane, his grade point average hovered in the C-D range despite a schedule laden with "decidedly non-academic" courses such as driver's education and weight training.
On March 27, 1985, Williams was arrested for suspicion of point shaving. According to the indictment, Williams had taken at least $8,550 from Gary Kranz for influencing point spreads in games against Southern Miss, Memphis State and Virginia Tech. Williams was charged with sports bribery and conspiracy; his first trial ended with a mistrial, but during his second trial a jury found him not guilty of all five counts.
Williams was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1985 NBA draft with the 21st pick of the second round (45th overall). However, due to the trial, Williams spent the 1985–86 season playing for the United States Basketball League. Able to play for the Cavaliers the next year, Williams was named to the NBA all-rookie team for the 1986-87 season, along with teammates Ron Harper and Brad Daugherty. Perhaps Williams' finest season occurred in 1989, when he averaged 16.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.04 blocked shots per game while mostly serving as the team's sixth man. Following the 1989-90 season, he re-signed with the Cavaliers to a 7-year, $26.5 million contract, making him one of the five highest paid players in the NBA in the early 1990s. At the time, this was an unprecedented salary for a sixth man like Williams.  Prior March 22, 2009, he ranked as the Cavaliers' all-time leader in blocked shots (1,200) (surpassed by Žydrūnas Ilgauskas). Williams spent nine seasons with the Cavaliers before being traded to the Phoenix Suns for Dan Majerle during the 1995 offseason. He finished out his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks.
Personal life and death
- Looney, Douglas S. (1985-04-22). "All I Want Is to Be Happy".
- Recent scandals: BC, Tulane and Northwestern
- SPORTS PEOPLE; No Second Thoughts, The New York Times, June 18, 1986, Accessed January 14, 2009.
- McCallum, Jack (17 September 1990). "Pass Me The Bread". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- Nets Can’t Stop Cavaliers’ Winning Streak
- Gammons, Peter (January 11, 2001). "Devil Rays find The Natural in the cane fields". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
- Windhorst, Brian (December 11, 2015). "John 'Hot Rod' Williams dies at 53". ESPN.com. ESPN. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Pluto, Terry (December 11, 2015). "Former Cleveland Cavalier John 'Hot Rod' Williams dies at 53". Cleveland.com. Advance Publications. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
- Lewis, Ted (December 19, 2015). "John 'Hot Rod' Williams, former Tulane, NBA player, dies of cancer at age 53". The Advocate. Baton Rouge. Retrieved August 25, 2018.