John "Hot Rod" Williams

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John Williams
Personal information
Born (1962-08-09)August 9, 1962
Sorrento, Louisiana
Died December 11, 2015(2015-12-11) (aged 53)
near Sorrento, Louisiana
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High school St. Amant (St. Amant, Louisiana)
College Tulane (1981–1985)
NBA draft 1985 / Round: 2 / Pick: 45th overall
Selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers
Playing career 1985–1999
Position Power forward / Center
Number 18
Career history
1985 Rhode Island Gulls
1986 Staten Island Stallions
19861995 Cleveland Cavaliers
19951998 Phoenix Suns
1999 Dallas Mavericks
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

John "Hot Rod" Williams (August 9, 1962 – December 11, 2015) was an American professional basketball player in the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1986 to 1999.

Early life[edit]

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.

College basketball[edit]

A 6'11" power forward/center, he played collegiately at Tulane University, leaving as that school's second all-time leading scorer.


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;[1] his first trial ended with a mistrial, but during his second trial a jury found him not guilty of all five counts.[2]

NBA career[edit]

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 Cavs 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 resigned with the Cavaliers to a 7-year, $26.5 million contract, making him one of the 5 highest paid players in the NBA in the early 1990s. At the time, this was an unprecedented salary for a sixth man like Williams. [3] Prior March 22, 2009, he ranked as the Cavaliers' all-time leader in blocked shots (1,200) (surpassed by Žydrūnas Ilgauskas).[4] Williams spent nine seasons with the Cavs 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[edit]

Williams' nephew, Toe Nash, played professional baseball.[5] He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

John "Hot Rod" Williams children; John Williams Jr, John Francis Williams, Johnna Williams, John Paul Williams, and Sydney Gibbs.


Williams was diagnosed with colon cancer in April 2014. He died from complications of colon cancer at a hospital in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on December 11, 2015.[6][7] Williams was 53.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Recent scandals: BC, Tulane and Northwestern
  2. ^ SPORTS PEOPLE; No Second Thoughts, The New York Times, June 18, 1986, Accessed January 14, 2009.
  3. ^ McCallum, Jack (17 September 1990). "Pass Me The Bread". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Nets Can’t Stop Cavaliers’ Winning Streak
  5. ^ Gammons, Peter (January 11, 2001). "Devil Rays find The Natural in the cane fields". Retrieved May 16, 2012. 
  6. ^ Windhorst, Brian (December 11, 2015). "John 'Hot Rod' Williams dies at 53". ESPN. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 
  7. ^ Pluto, Terry (December 11, 2015). "Former Cleveland Cavalier John 'Hot Rod' Williams dies at 53". Advance Publications. Retrieved December 11, 2015. 

External links[edit]