Monday, September 29, 2008

Goodbye, Jason Williams

I was watching ESPNEWS the other night as I always do before falling asleep. For those of you who are not familiar with the programming, there is a small ticker on the bottom of the screen that announces the most important sports news throughout the day, or at least some of the most recent.

Well, like most people, my eyes go back and forth from the actual programming to the ticker, but sometimes I usually miss something.

The other night while I was watching, I could have sworn I saw something pertaining to Jason Williams, who just so happens to be my favorite NBA player.

Knowing that I had missed it, I waited until the news presented itself again - and it did.

To my surprise, my favorite NBA player had decided to retire just 10 years into his playing career.

As of today, no true news has been announced for the reasoning of this retirement. Williams has had a few years in a row where knee injuries has limited his playing time, and perhaps hindered his ability, but he was still a very capable NBA player - and still ahead of most point guards in the league.

The news is rather sudden, as I announced a month or two ago that Williams had signed a new contract with the Los Angeles Clippers, and would be backing up Baron Davis. So it sort of bewilders me that he has decided to call it quits without even heading into training camp.

Williams came into the league in 1998 as the No. 7 draft pick of the Sacramento Kings. Thanks to his street ball-like abilities, Williams became an instant hit with the fans, and with Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and Chris Webber, led a talented Kings team into the playoffs for the first time in awhile.

After three seasons in Sacramento, the Kings gave up on Williams as they thought a player with turnover problems would never be able to lead them to the championship. So, Williams was shipped to Memphis for Mike Bibby.

While a Grizzlie, Williams helped lead a franchise who had never been to the playoffs, nor had a winning season, win over 50 games and make the playoffs. The Grizzlies were swept in both playoff contests, but were finally relevant.

That is until Memphis shipped Williams to the Miami Heat in one of the biggest trades ever. Williams became a member of the Heat along with James Posey and Antoine Walker, who joined Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. In that season, Williams would win his first NBA championship.

To this date, the Sacramento Kings nor Mike Bibby have even been to the NBA Finals.

The past few seasons, Williams has been struck with the injury bug and his play had deminished because of it. He was still the eighth best in assist/turnover ratio last season, and even had a 34 point game against Orlando.

Although I hope this retirement is that via Brett Favre or Roger Clemens (meaning he'll be back soon), I am happy I got to see him play. He was very fun to watch, and his maturation as both a person and a player was great to see.

I'll miss you J-Dub.

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