Ray Williams (basketball)
October 14, 1954|
Mount Vernon, New York
|Died||March 22, 2013
New York City, New York
|Listed height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Listed weight||188 lb (85 kg)|
|High school||Mount Vernon
(Mount Vernon, New York)
|NBA draft||1977 / Round: 1 / Pick: 10th overall|
|Selected by the New York Knicks|
|Number||13, 25, 20, 1, 11|
|1977–1981||New York Knicks|
|1981–1982||New Jersey Nets|
|1982–1983||Kansas City Kings|
|1983–1984||New York Knicks|
|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.
High school and college careers
Williams attended Mount Vernon High School and helped lead the school to two New York State basketball championships.
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. 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.
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.
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|
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 that 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. Williams married Linda Crawford in August 2011.
- Goldstein, Richard (March 24, 2013), "Ray Williams Dies at 58; Itinerant in Pros and Life", The New York Times
- Knicks get Lucas from New Jersey. The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "The life of former NBA player Ray Williams". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Huge rebound". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- "Former Knicks star Williams dead at age 58". New York Post. Retrieved 22 March 2013.
- NBA statistics @ basketballreference.com