Few guys had a career that involved as much transformation as Jason Williams.
He was a high school teammate of Randy Moss who was suspended and eventually kicked off his college team at Florida. He entered the NBA all flash — ridiculous passes (like the legendary elbow pass from the Rookie Game) and wild moves, just follow this link to the highlights — but eventually he settled down and was the steady point guard on the 2006 championship Heat (scoring 12 points a game in those playoffs.
That career ended as Williams announced his retirement after a dozen years in the league. He had battled injuries all season and was not on the Memphis playoff roster.
For his career he averaged 10.5 points and 5.9 assists per game for a career that included time with the Kings as well as the Grizzlies (twice), Heat and Magic. Numbers do a poor job of capturing what he brings to the party — he knew how to put on a show. But by the end he was a more traditional point guard, a guy who last year gave the Magic solid backup minutes at the point.
He will be missed. He was a unique player ad personality.
UPDATE 9:41 pm: In a sign that this is the end, the Orlando Magic tonight waived Jason Williams. It would be stunning if anyone picked him up at this point.
Williams had missed five games recently due to a personal issue, but he dressed with the Magic on Monday night. However, he did not accompany the team on its current road trip to Indiana.
I’m going to pour out some of my PBR for J-Will and watch that video linked at the bottom of this post one more time.
12:37 pm: Jason Williams has battled arthritic feet and some personal issues this season that have kept him on the sidelines for much of the Orlando Magic’s campaign. But it seemed like he was back, and last Friday took part in the team’s shootaround.
Then today the Magic announced that he has left the team (via twitter). No official reason was given, The team added that Magic GM Otis Smith said the matter will be dealt with when the team returns from its road trip.
What this means is we may have seen the last of White Chocolate in the NBA. Which makes me a little sad, like the league just got a little more dull. It’s time for a little trip down memory lane…