September 29, 2008

Jason Williams, aka "White Chocolate", Retires

This is one of the rare moments I'm featuring an NBA player that is not, and had not, played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Why? Because one of the key figures in the Los Angeles Lakers-Sacramento Kings rivalry of the late 1990's hung up his sneakers.

Jason Williams, aka "White Chocolate," aka "J-Will", announced his retirement a few days ago and I felt the urge to write about this very interesting specimen of a basketball player. He was one of the very few broke the mold of the typical Caucasian point guard. When basketball fans think of "white point guard," cerebral players like John Stockton, Mark Price, and Scott Skiles come to mind. But J-Will is in the same basketball vicinity "Pistol" Pete Maravich once occupied-- Showboat City.

Williams, in his three years with the Kings, made them watchable and competitive in the regular season. The behind-the-back passes, cross-over dribbles and long 3-balls put the fans in the Arco Arena, and his presence evened-out the likes of Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic in the team. Yeah, Williams took a lot of bad shots and prioritizes sizzle over substance, but basketball fans forgave him.

But when playoffs came, it was a different story.

Playoff success was not part of Jason Williams' career in Sac-Town. Williams' stats dropped dramatically and his penchant to make turnovers was more glaring than his flashy game. As a result, he was shipped to the Memphis Grilzzlies for Mike Bibby after three break-neck seasons with the Kings. Along with Williams, the fun-and-gun Sacramento Kings image departed.

The same way could be said about Jason Williams. He obviously matured as a player in Memphis but definitely lost the mojo that differentiated him in Sacramento.

So, my hat's off to Jason Williams. He definitely made basketball interesting for a lot of people during his early playing days.

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