Bison Dele Rumors
Ellis said while it is nice to be honored, it will be “sad on two accounts.” Teammate Bison Dele (formerly Brian Williams) was killed in 2002 in an unsolved boating accident, and Rodney Rogers is in a wheelchair after an ATV accident in 2008. Rogers will be at Monday’s ceremony. “It’s hard to wrap your mind around it sometimes,” Ellis said. “It would be one thing if we won a world championship. But obviously what we were able to accomplish in 1994 still resonates with people within the organization and people in town as well. “It’s a priviledge, and we’re flattered and honored that the Nuggets would bring us back to town and have a night like tonight.”
Where are they? A look at the whereabouts of members of the 1993-94 Nuggets: Coach Dan Issel: Working in the oil and gas industry for a Windsor company. Broadcaster for a couple of Nuggets games this season. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: Lives in suburban Atlanta. Gives private basketball training sessions. LaPhonso Ellis: College basketball analyst at ESPN. Tom Hammonds: Went into drag racing after 12-year NBA career. Briefly owned a car dealership in South Carolina. Now in the construction business in Florida. Reggie Williams: Resigned in September as coach of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, D.C. Rodney Rogers: Paralyzed as a result of a dirt bike accident in 2008. Lives in North Carolina. Brian Williams (Bison Dele): Presumed dead after disappearing during a sailing trip in 2002. Robert Pack: Assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Bryant Stith: Assistant coach at Old Dominion University. Dikembe Mutombo: Humanitarian and NBA global ambassador.
Byrne forwarded the message to Williams, who never responded. He was off to explore the world. He lit out for Beirut, where he spent four months with Hosseini. He DJ’ed at nightclubs, invested in a bottled-water plant with his old friend, jet-skied in the Mediterranean. From there Williams made for Australia, disappearing for long stretches into the Outback. Byrne wasn’t surprised. If anything, he wondered why it took his friend so long to leave the NBA. Says Byrne: “His great fear was to be another 40-year-old NBA player, paying the rent by doing car commercials.”
To those with an eye for it, there was also basketball greatness in Williams. Jordan saw it. Joe Dumars saw it. Kerr calls Williams, “maybe the most physically gifted player I ever saw.” Most of all, though, Phil Jackson saw it. He said he had “a special relationship with Brian.” After Williams left the NBA, in 1999, Byrne received an email with a message from Hampton Mears, the longtime Lakers scout and Jackson confidant. “If Brian is interested [in returning to the NBA] he should get in touch with Phil, or Jerry West. They need and want him and start with high respect for Brian as a man and as a player.”
19 Oct 08