OPOwieści
z NBA

interviews

opowieści z nba

Walt Williams

Zdjęcia: gettyimages

Przemek Opłocki:

Who was your favorite player when you were a kid?

Walt Williams:

Len Bias and George „Ice Man” Gervin.

PO:

When and who gave you a nickname „The Wizard”?

WW:

Ralph Lee, assistant coach at UMD. In my freshman year.

PO:

You played at University of Maryland, only two years after tragic Len Bias death. What did it mean for you? And how it was to play with Len’s shadow in locker room and on the Maryland’s court?

WW:

It meant everything. Bias was my idol so following in his footsteps and playing at UMD was the ultimate. I actually lived in his dorm room my freshman year. It was a great challenge to try and dominate the game coming behind a great player like Len. I loved the challenge of doing that at home.

PO:

With your Maryland’s teammate and NBA vet, Tony Massenburg, you wrote a book „Lessons from Lenny”. Could you tell us something more about that book and Bias role in your life as a basketball player?

WW:

The book is not just about basketball. Len’s death took our athletic program to another level when it comes to academics. Tasha Kriss was a big part of that. Also, laws were put in place because of circumstances surrounding his death. This book is much more than a basketball story. His impact on me personally, was tremendous. He fueled my desire to strive to be TBE in UMD history.

PO:

You were 7th in strong 1992 NBA Draft, with future 7 All-Star players and 2 Hall of Famers. Did you expect to be in top 10?

WW:

I don’t know if I knew I’d be in the top 10 but I did think I would be a lottery pick or I wouldn’t have never gone to the draft.

PO:

What were your expectation when you enter NBA? Where did you see yourself in 10-15 years perspective?

WW:

I didn’t really think about those things. My father had just passed away a few weeks before I had to report to Sacramento. So it was up and down for me. I was thinking about other things rather than my future in the NBA.

PO:

You were selected to NBA All-NBA Rookie Second Team. Which moments were the best from that season, and what did you learn?

WW:

The moments that were the best was the times spent with my teammates. I learned how to be a professional from the veterans on that Sacramento team.

PO:

In Sacramento you played with Mitch Richmond. Did you have 3-point contests during practice?

WW:

All the time! We competed after practice just about every day. Mitch, Randy Brown and myself.

PO:

In 1997 you participated in 3-Point Shootout during All-Star Weekend in Clevelend. How do you remember that day and whole weekend as well?

WW:

I remember the day before smashing my finger on my right hand closing my hotel window. My middle 3 fingers were swollen and I had to get the Dr. to poke little holes in my finger tips to drain the swelling. It worked in the 1st round but in the second round my fingers swelled back up by the time it was my turn again. I always thought I could’ve won that! Lol.

PO:

Why did you decide to sign with Toronto?

WW:

Isaiah Thomas and Darrell Walker.

PO:

You had a chance to play in NBA with your Maryland’s teammate, Tony Massenburg. I guess it helped you to adapt easier in a new club, am I right?

WW:

By the time I was traded to Houston I had been traded a few times beforehand. So it wasn’t a big deal playing in a new city. Houston was a lot of fun! I felt my game adapted to any style of play so I was cool with wherever I went. . But it was great playing with Tony Mass, Steve Francis, Terrence Morris, Moochie Norris…..All those guys were from the DMV so that was fun.

PO:

Carlos Rogers was your „trade colleague”, because he was traded with you twice. Did you have jokes that you are like twins?

WW:

Lol. Carlos was awesome to play with. He was funny too. He would mess with guys everyday. He was a character. We had some great times playing together.

PO:

In Dallas your coach was Don Nelson. I had a chance to talk with a lot of his „pupils”, like Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings or Tim Hardaway. How do you remember him?

WW:

Coach Nelson was a laid back coach. His approach to the game installed confidence in all of us. He made us feel like he knew we were going to win most games because of his relaxed approach. We barely ran plays because we had so much fire power on offense. I believe we started the season 14-0. The Big 3 and Nick Van Exel baby!!! I used to come off that bench and get busy as well. Raja Bell was just coming into his own. Lafrenz, Najera….Just get the ball to Nash and run like hell! If we don’t get a fast break bucket, then give it to Dirk on the high post. That was our offense for most of the game. I loved playing in that system.

PO:

With Mavs you fought with Spurs in WCF. How close were you to be in NBA Finals?

WW:

We were very close. We lost 4-2 but I believe we played majority of the series without Dirk. I believe if Dirk was healthy and able to play all series, it would’ve been a different outcome.

PO:

You played in 6 NBA teams. In which you felt like at home, and which was the biggest lesson for you?

WW:

I was lucky. I felt at home on every team I played for. I had great relationships with my teammates on every team. Great Times for sure! The biggest lesson I learned was EVERYONE was a baller at that level. The talent in the NBA is off the charts. Certain guys had to settle into roles to get on the floor or maybe didn’t get many opportunities to play at all. But if you caught them in practices at times, Smh!!!! BALLERS!!!!

PO:

You played with many All-Star and Hall of Fame players. Who would be in your All-Time Walt Williams Team? If it is too hard you could create 1st and 2nd team?

WW:

Mitch Richmond, Spudd Webb, Wayman Tisdale, Hakeem, Barkley, Franchise, Cuttino Mobley, Damon Stoudemire, Camby, Nash, Dirk, Mike Finley, Nick Van Exel, Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning, Rasheed Wallace, JR Rider, Jimmy Jackson, Bonzi Wells, Brian Grant, Sabonis (Dad), Jermaine Oneal, Maurice Taylor, Gary Grant, Greg Anthony, Stacy Augmon, Doug Christie, etc……..Cmon Man I can’t pick just 10 guys. Way too many Ballers bro.