So it’s come to this. Jason Williams has announced his retirement, about a month and a half after signing with the Clippers as free agent.
Williams, who was initially nicknamed White Chocolate upon entering the NBA as the seventh overall pick in the 1998 draft out of Florida, wowed the crowds in Sacramento. Along with Chris Webber, they made the Kings relevant and important to watch for the first time in, well, ever (no disrespect to Mitch Richmond.) The flashy handles, court vision and lack of melanin drew comparisons to Pistol Pete, in the same way that every Yakubian over 6’6″ with a jumpshot draws comparisons to Larry Bird. But he was never quite as good as Pistol. For every jaw-dropping no-look, there was a jaw-dropping pass to the sidelines, and he was never a better than average scorer. But he did have WHITEBOY inked accross his knuckles. So there’s that. He also showed a flair for both historical inaccuracies and racial insensitivity when he reportedly called an Asian fan in Oakland “a slant-eyed motherfucker” and told him he would “shoot all you Asian motherfuckers. Do you remember the Vietnam War? I’ll kill y’all just like that.” Just like Pistol Pete.
In a move that made the Kings a noticeably better team, he was traded to the Grizzlies for Mike Bibby. But while Bibby was starting in the Western Conference Finals, J Will actually grew up. Maybe it was because he was playing for Hubie Brown, maybe it was the fact that he was on a not-that-good team in an even smaller market than Sacramento, but Williams played some good ball with the Grizz, cracking the 8 APG mark his first two seasons in Bluff City.
Eventually, Whiteboy wore out his welcome in Memphis, with (probably) the final straw coming after he almost attacked a reporter during the Grizzlies’ first round series against Phoenix in 2005. He got traded to Miami, where he started on the Heat’s 2006 championship team. That’s right, Gary Payton was HIS backup on a ring-winning team. Save that one for trivia contests five years from now, because no one will remember that.
After that, though, he couldn’t stay healthy. Even when he was fit to go, he wasn’t quite his old self, and at age 33, signed a contract with the Clippers, who now have to rely on Jason Hart to play the point when B Didd inevitably gets injured.
So farewell, J Dub. We leave you now with this highly underrated Nike commercial.