Saturday, July 3, 2010

Former Knicks captain Ray Williams needs help - now

LeBron James should check out the story of former New York Knicks captain and guard Ray Williams.

While the Knicks beg James to take all the money the organization can muster, Williams lives in a car in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Williams played for six teams - New York, Kansas City (now Sacramento), New Jersey, Boston, Atlanta and San Antonio - during his 10-year NBA career.

He signed a four-year, $500,000 contract in 1977 as the 10th pick overall out of the University of Minnesota where he was a teammate of Kevin McHale, former No. 1 pick Mychal Thompson and Washington Wizards head coach Flip Saunders.

At his best, Williams was a physical specimen capable of dominating games with ballhandling, scoring and great one-on-one, full-court defensive pressure.

In 1981, he signed a three-year, $1.5 million deal - his most lucrative contract - with the Nets.

Now he says, he's most recently lived on bread and water.

Williams' tale truly is a sad occurrence becoming far too familiar for former athletes. Mishandling of finances and lifestyles that evolve into struggles for survival in an unforgiving and uncertain day-to-day existence.

Williams, 55, according to a story in the Boston Globe, is searching for help and describes himself as 'desperate.' He needs help, has needed help and doesn't know in which direction to turn.

Williams certainly has made his share of mistakes, but needs a helping hand. He's twice received financial aid at times from the NBA Legends Foundation and also once from the NBA Retired Players Association.

However, he's still in a precarious position. Williams said he's never used drugs or gambled or turned to alcohol.

Williams' brother, Gus, has sent him money for food, but also is going through financial struggles.

Ray Williams is looking for help in a major way before his sad story becomes a tragedy.

A minimal consideration of names such as McHale, Ainge, Saunders, not to mention the New York Knicks organization suggests there are options capable of joining forces and finances to assist Williams in this time of need.

It's not beyond comprehension the organizations for which Williams played combined to figure out a way to help. A veritable drop in the bucket for them would be a godsend.

Granted, there are many folks these days who need aid, but there is too much money currently flying around the NBA for Williams to go unassisted. A job, a place to live and some money to buy food at the minimum doesn't seem like too much to ask.

After all, it only would be to help one of their own.

The NBA Cares is a theme on which the league rests, so it says.

Perhaps James, the wannabe global icon, could share some small percentage of the millions he's soon to receive. Or even suggest to the Knicks, showing Williams love might enhance the team's chances of him giving them a little more consideration.


  1. Another great post Marty. Doesn't the NBA have a pension plan for players similar to the NFL?

  2. Thanks, Pete... And to my knowledge, Williams already has gone into his plan. How deeply, I'm unsure. The man has been struggling for years, so what the man needs is a little help. The basics - room, board, food, a little money to get his car fixed and some leads on a job. It doesn't seem like much with millions flying around. For Christ sakes, Darko Milicic just got $18 mil over four years... Clearly, there is cash being thrown around.
    Thanks again, Pete, for the time and effort. And I hope you've become a follower.

  3. I use to follow Ray Williams, and when he played there was nothing but terminating defenders. I mean the brother was nice. Sorry to read how he is doing. I remember those days personally and will be praying for Ray and Gus, two from Mount Vernon, NY. I believe Ray played in one of the best back courts in NYC , outside of Walt and Pearl.(Truly the best back court ever, for the Knicks). I guess the Knicks , can be a little more helpful too in a situation like this. Ray, really held it down for Knick fans, during some lean years. God Bless Brother.

  4. Oh yeah also in that back court with Ray, I think was the amazing Micheal Ray Richardson. We remember his story and how your demons can truly haunt you. Thank God it gets better.