Ray Williams RumorsAll NBA Players
On the day Ray Williams passed away, was it karma or coincidence Micheal Ray Richardson was on the Knicks’ scene Friday night at Air Canada Centre? The Knicks drafted Williams with the 10th pick in 1977 to be Walt Frazier’s successor. Williams and backcourt mate Richardson were supposed to lead the Knicks back to the promised land. Last night, the Garden held a moment of silence for Williams and original Knick, Bud Palmer. Never worked out that way. “I’m real sad,’’ Richardson told The Post Friday night while watching the Knicks beat the Raptors. “He and I were like brothers.’’ Williams died yesterday after battling colon cancer at Sloane Kettering Hospital at age 58. Richardson is living in Canada, coaching the nearby London Lightning of the NBL, and had stopped by to visit his former teammates, Knicks coach Mike Woodson and assistant Darrell Walker.
Richardson spoke to Williams for 45 minutes Monday. “We talked about the olden times, about how life isn’t fair but sometimes it’s what you do with it,’’ Richardson said. “He was a tough defender, he could do it all. A big guy in the locker room. We all did think that (he’d be a superstar). Things happen. He was traded. I was traded. I got into something I shouldn’t have gotten into.’’
But of the many friends the likable Williams had, he was inextricably tied to Richardson more than any other player, despite their relatively short time as the Knicks’ starting backcourt under Coach Red Holzman. “Talent-wise, pound for pound, we were considered one of the best 1-2 punches in the league,” Richardson said in a telephone interview from London, Ontario, where he is coaching the London Lightning of the National Basketball League of Canada.
Out of Mount Vernon, N.Y., the younger brother of the N.B.A. star Gus Williams, Ray Williams played for six N.B.A. teams over 10 years, including two stints each with the Knicks and the Nets. His later life was turbulent. A trail of bad financial decisions left him destitute at times, and living in his car in Florida as recently as 2010. Benefactors like his former Celtics teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale helped Williams get back on his feet, and the Knicks’ management team — including Coach Mike Woodson, who played alongside Williams during the 1982-83 season for the Kansas City Kings — arranged for treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan.
Woodson remembered Williams as a gritty guard. Williams, from Mount Vernon, played five seasons for the Knicks, making two stints. He was the 10th overall pick in the 1977 draft. “He was awesome,” Woodson told The Post recently. “Physical. Tough. Knew how to play. He was a prototype combo guard because he can play 1, he could play 2 and could guard the 3 because he was so physical. To see him in the hospital like that you don’t wish that on anyone. That’s why we should be fortunate we can walk around and laugh.”
Ray Williams, former Knicks point guard in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, died today after battling cancer at Sloane Kettering Hospital, according to the team. He was 58. Knicks coach Mike Woodson and assistant and former Knicks guard Darrell Walker visited Williams in the hospital 2 1/2 weeks ago.
Former Knicks and Nets guard Ray Williams passed away today at the age of just 58 years old. The Mount Vernon, NY native had been battling colon cancer at Manhattan’s Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. After an impressive career with the Maryland Terrapins, Williams was selected by the Knicks with the 10th overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft ahead of Forrest Hills native and one-time Knicks general manager Ernie Grunfeld, Celtics legend Cedric Maxwell, Hawks center Tree Rollins and Lakers guard Norm Nixon.