Posts Tagged ‘brad daugherty’

‘Hot Rod’ Williams fighting cancer

He grew up dirt poor in Louisiana and then battled accusations of point-shaving while in college to become a valuable rotation player during his 13-year playing career.

SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 7: John Hot Rod Williams #18 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots a foul shot against the Sacramento Kings during a game played on March 7, 1989 at Arco Arena in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1989 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

John “Hot Rod” Williams.

But now, that’s well in the past for John “Hot Rod” Williams as he battles cancer. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto, who covered much of Williams’ career, the ex-center is on life support in Baton Rouge.

Williams, 53, was an important player for Lenny Wilkens and a valuable teammate for Mark Price, Larry Nance and Brad Daugherty. Those teams were among the NBA’s best for a good half-dozen years, and their only misfortune was playing during the era of Michael Jordan. The Cavs never beat Jordan in a playoff series — everyone remembers The Shot over Craig Ehlo — but routinely won 40-50 games and made the playoffs.

Williams had primarily a sixth-man role and the Cavs boasted an imposing front line with Williams, Daugherty and Nance. Williams finished his career in Phoenix, then moved back home in Sorrento, La., and became a community fixture.

He built a large home in town and stocked it with toys for his children, once explaining, “I never had any toys as a kid.” Williams was raised by a woman who found him on a doorstep crying as a toddler; he later built a home for Barbara Colar next door to his own. He was cleared of point-shaving charges at Tulane and soon fund NBA riches, partly due to a free agent contract extended to him by the Miami Heat, which made him the highest-paid player on the Cavs when Cleveland matched it. He averaged 13 points and seven rebounds with the Cavs.

In retirement, Williams formed a construction company and coached his children and their friends in Little League.

His agent, Mark Bartlestein, told Pluto: “It’s a very serious situation.”

Some of his former teammates are extending their support:

 

 

NBA’s Frantic Four trying to change history


VIDEO: Relive the biggest moments from the semifinals

There’s no official and catchy distinction for the last teams standing in the NBA semifinals, no Final Four or Frozen Four or anything like that, but here’s one that might best describe the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets: Frantic Four.

Yes, there’s more than a sense of desperation. These are four franchises that haven’t won an NBA title in a combined 162 years. Not since 1958 for the Hawks (based in St. Louis then), since 1975 for the Warriors, since 1995 for the Rockets and since, like, never for the Cavs. There are adult fans of those teams who’ve never known the thrill of the ultimate victory or seen a parade or felt the need to brag. In the case of the Hawks, they’ve never been to the East finals before, and once they beat the Wizards last week and advanced, Atlanta nearly reacted as though it won a real championship.

And so, with regard to these four teams searching for a change of fate, we examine their level of desperation for this 2015 title and rank them accordingly.

No. 4: Houston Rockets


VIDEO: Houston wraps up its second championship in 1995

In the midst of a celebration in June of 1995, Rudy Tomjanovich grabbed the mic and uttered one of the most memorable lines in NBA history: “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.” Rudy T was tweaking those who thought the Rockets were too old to repeat, which they did, but it’s been a 20-season long dry spell since. Evidently, everyone correctly estimated the staying power of the Rockets.

That two-time championship team died gradually. The Rockets tried to tape it together with an old and broken down Charles Barkley and that crew eventually made the 1997 West finals. But they had to watch as John Stockton sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Game 6 (in Barkley’s face) to send the Utah Jazz to The Finals. Then, in the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season, they added another dinosaur: Scottie Pippen. Within four years, all of the important pieces of the championship era were gone, including Hakeem Olajuwon, looking grotesquely out of place in a purple jersey with a cheesy reptile in Toronto.

Houston did give it another go with Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming, but injuries kept interrupting their time together and the Rockets advanced beyond the first round only once.

Since 1995, the Rockets have basically been a mixed bag, reaching the West finals once and then being mercifully teased by the T-Mac-and-Yao era. GM Daryl Morey then stole James Harden from OKC and signed Dwight Howard as a free agent and, well, here they are. In that span, they moved to a state-of-the-art downtown arena (Toyota Center) and enjoyed big crowds. Not exactly the picture of doom, which means, life without a title hasn’t been totally dreadful. (more…)