John Williamson (basketball)

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John Williamson
Personal information
Born (1951-11-10)November 10, 1951
New Haven, Connecticut
Died November 30, 1996(1996-11-30) (aged 45)
New Haven, Connecticut
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Career information
High school Wilbur Cross
(New Haven, Connecticut)
College New Mexico State (1971–1973)
NBA draft 1973 / Round: 6 / Pick: 96th overall
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Pro career 1973–1982
Position Shooting guard
Number 23
Career history
19731977 New York Nets (ABA and NBA)
19771978 Indiana Pacers
19781980 New Jersey Nets
1981 Washington Bullets
1982 Las Vegas Silvers
Career highlights and awards
Career ABA and NBA statistics
Points 9,017 (17.5 ppg)
Rebounds 1,274 (2.5 rpg)
Assists 1,441 (2.8 apg)
Stats at

John Lee Williamson ((1951-11-10)November 10, 1951 – November 30, 1996) was an American basketball player. He helped the New York Nets win two league championships in the American Basketball Association (ABA) in the 1970s.[1]

Williamson played high school basketball at Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, Connecticut and played college basketball at New Mexico State University. He was a 6'2" guard. Williamson was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 6th round (10th pick) of the 1973 NBA Draft but had other plans.

While at Wilbur Cross High School, Williamson played on the Connecticut state champion teams of 1966-67, 1967–68 and was runner up to crosstown rival Hillhouse in 1968-69, losing 76-71 in the final. For his senior (1969–70) year, Williamson led the nation in scoring with a gaudy 38.7 points per game average. His team was upset in a semi-final match against Bridgeport Central, with an ending score of 105-103. Cross previously won over Central in the 1968 title game in a 123-82 game.

Williamsons' teammates, Alex Scott 24 points, and Clint Davis 40 points, led the way in the romp for Cross' third consecutive title. Williamson chipped in 17, which was his average that year. He went on to team up with Scott and Davis at New Mexico State University where he averaged 27 points per game his sophomore and junior years. In the final regular season game of 69-70 Cross played St. Anthony's Catholic of Washington, DC. They were the no. 1 team in the DC metro area and one of the top five in the country. Coached by Georgetown's John Thompson, Cross was a huge underdog. All-America player Williamson scored 36 points and fellow all-stater Danny Hardy had 22 to pace the Governors to a 74-66 win. In that game, John Thompson took his team off the floor and to the locker room with about two and a half minutes remaining in protest over officiating, and not return. During this season, Williamson had a string of nine straight games in which he scored 40 or more points.

As a rookie, Williamson landed with the New York Nets of the ABA as a free agent for the 1973-74 season. Williamson quickly entered the New York starting lineup despite being a rookie. After Williamson became a starter, the team's fortunes quickly turned for the better and the team ended up winning the ABA Championship that season. Williamson was named to the 1974 ABA All-Rookie team.

Continuing with the Nets, Williamson, in Game 6 of the 1976 ABA Finals, scored 28 points, with 16 of them coming in the fourth quarter; this lead the Nets to come back from 22 points behind to win the game, the series and the ABA championship.

Williamson's jersey number (23) was retired[2] by the New York/New Jersey Nets franchise on December 7, 1990; Williamson is one of four players who were with the Nets during their ABA days with a retired number; the other three include Wendell Ladner, Bill Melchionni, and Julius Erving.

In 1977, Williamson was traded to the Indiana Pacers midseason; in the middle of the next season he went back to the Nets. In the 1980 season he went from the Nets to the Washington Bullets where he finished his eight-year career during the 1981 season.

In his ABA/NBA career Williamson scored 9,017 points. He averaged between 11.5 and 29.5 points in every ABA/NBA season except for his last.

Williamson still holds Nets team records in various categories, including most free throw attempts in a game, with 24 (since tied by Vince Carter and Devin Harris).[3]

At the age of 45, Williamson died of kidney failure related to diabetes on November 30, 1996.


  1. ^ Mallozzi, Vincent M. (December 2, 1996). "John Williamson, 44, Nets Star in the 1970's". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 28, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Nets: Retired Numbers". NBA. Retrieved 2005-12-06. 
  3. ^ Harris has field day at stripe as Nets hand Pistons 1st loss in Iverson's debut

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