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Deron Williams
Deron Williams
Position: -
Born: 06/26/84
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:210 lbs. / 95.3 kg.
Earnings: $152,027,631 ($171,466,710*)
Ryan Spann is not used to being slammed to the mat. Yet here he was — all 6-foot-5, 205 pounds of him — with another massive body laying on top of his chest. His sparring partner that morning had avoided a hook and lunged for a double-leg takedown, dropping the UFC light heavyweight contender on his back. “I think I caught him off guard,” Deron Williams, the former NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, joked. “He didn’t know I was going to do that.”
“This is something that I enjoy,” Williams said of his involvement at the gym. “Is it going to make me rich? No. But what is rich, anyways? Something that makes you happy. It’s something you enjoy doing. I enjoy being around these kids. I saw some of these guys’ first fights. I remember I was at Geoff’s last loss against Kevin Holland at the Gas Monkey in Dallas. And now I’m seeing Geoff (on Saturday), and in my opinion he’s one of the top three welterweights in the world.” Neal, ranked No. 11 in the division by the UFC, could only be a couple wins away from competing for a UFC belt. And as crazy as it sounds, a former professional basketball player is partially to thank.
Williams insists this isn’t really his gym. His role is essentially to support the team, train and “try not to get fat at this point.” Almost all of the responsibilities of actually running Fortis fall on Saud, a hard-nosed coach who only knows one way of doing things: his way. That leadership style reminds Williams of someone he used to play for in Utah. “I honestly see Jerry Sloan in him. Jerry Sloan was the same way,” Williams said. “This is how he did things. Doesn’t matter if it went against the grain or went against what other organizations and teams were doing. It’s what he was going to do and that’s it, and you respected that. I think that’s the same with Sayif.”
Deron Williams on playing for the legendary Jerry Sloan and his toughness and coaching style: “Do you know how much dummy offense we did? Man, so we would do it…some days we would come in, and he’d put me at the five and he’d put Booze [Carlos Boozer] at the one. You had to know, he wanted you to know every position so that everything was interchangeable. And that’s how good we run it. That’s what made it so successful, is how hard we ran it and how well we ran it.”