Pat Williams Rumors
The Magic have made a critical decision that could alter the 2015-16 season. What, they’ve named a new head coach? Nah. This is bigger, much bigger: They will station good-luck charm Pat Williams in the room closer to the actual ping-pong balls for the NBA Draft Lottery on May 19 in New York. Williams has won three previous lotteries with Orlando — the last one coming in 2004 (Dwight Howard.)
If only T-Mac could find a team that agrees with him. Even Williams, who fondly remembers the back-to-back NBA scoring titles McGrady had for his Magic a decade ago, sighs softly when asked about the comeback. “Tracy has milked every bit of basketball talent out of his body,” Williams says. “There’s nothing left.”
But there it was, this exotic phrase: multiple myeloma. His first question was the one that most naturally occurs to a patient, how long do I have to live? Dr. Reynolds’ answer was not comforting: Two years, maybe three. “When I got the news, obviously I was shocked,” Williams said. “Just stunned. That was the last thing on my mind, that I might have cancer. I could not imagine it. “When Dr. Reynolds broke the news, I was just—wow, I was overwhelmed. I had been a fitness nut, I have been careful about my lifestyle and suddenly I am being told I have multiple myeloma, something I had never even heard of.”
But Williams did not stay down long. He still had more life to live. The first step was to figure out how to stop the cancer, and force it into remission. Knowing he had a very difficult cancer to deal with, he gave Dr. Reynolds the green light to try whatever was needed. “I have been on every medication they have, I have done bone marrow treatments, every drug,” Williams said. “I told him, ‘Don’t hold anything back, I will be your guinea pig.’ Whatever they have that might work, I want to try it. I have seen progress in the last three years that was unimaginable when he first told me.”
Now, Williams has been able to resume his speaking engagements and traveling with the Magic when needed. That includes his trip to the draft lottery, something that, in 2011, it did not seem he would be alive for. But Williams has fought his way back to his normal life. Well, mostly. “Other than marathons,” he said. “No more marathons, at least at this point. I have done 58 of them, but they’re on hold for now.”
Three years ago, at age 70, the heath nut who’d run 58 marathons was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. “Me, Mr. health, Mr. fitness, no cancer in my family. I was just overwhelmed,” said Williams. Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer caused by overproduction of plasma cells. If left untreated, it destroys the bones, but like thousands of others, Williams has benefited from a stream of new drugs to treat it.
The new drugs put Pat Williams’ myeloma into remission. That’s the theme of his new book and he’s eager to try the next wave. “I’ve told the docs, I’ll be your number one guinea pig. Sock it to me, baby. Sock it to me,” said Williams. Williams would like to build a research and treatment center for multiple myeloma in Orlando. Other prominent myeloma patients include NBC newsman Tom Brokaw and former Cubs manager Don Baylor.