In our last article. we highlighted a #3 FEAL in the person of Derrick Favors. Sadly, we have another #3 FEAL to report on, but it’s regarding his passing. We are talking about John “Hot Rod” Williams, who died Friday at the young age of 53. Once again, not only did cancer (colon) strike before its suspected time period, but it left its victim with little time to say goodbyes and put matters in order before entering eternity. BTI’s Director, Jon Niednagel, spent time with Hot Rod when he consulted for the Phoenix Suns and always found him to be a wonderful and humble person, not typical of many pro athletes.
Can you remember Hot Rod in his prime, particularly during his stint with the Cavs? He played with them from 1986 to 1993, proving himself to be an able defender and big team player (typical of the #3). Those Cavs teams included Mark Price (#6 BEIR), Brad Daugherty (#9 FCAR), Larry Nance (#2 BEAR), Craig Ehlo (#9 FCAR) and Ron Harper (#6 BEIR). Williams was said to be especially close to Lenny Wilkens (#2 BEAR), whom he called, “Coach Lenny.” No surprise there, considering both were/are dominant Animates!
Williams was said to “never complain,” and “was a completely unselfish player on the court.” While at Tulane, Williams was accused of being involved in a point shaving scandal, causing most NBA managers to stay away from him, save Harry Weltman of Cleveland (who took him in the second round). Michael Green, however, who was hired by Williams’ agent to be his attorney, was convinced of John’s innocence after meeting him for the first time. “Williams spoke slowly and explained things. At the end, he had tears in his eyes. He said, ‘Mister, please help me. I didn’t do anything wrong.’ I said, ‘You got a lawyer.'”
Remember Danny Ferry, John’s #15 FCIL teammate? He went on to say, Hot Rod was a great, caring and unselfish teammate. He was a team first guy. He was also a valuable, intelligent and very underrated player. He could defend anyone. We were all lucky to have him as a teammate and friend.
While ‘Hot Rod’ was a talented player, he also had his Left brain limitations. In Ron Harper’s own words, “We used to always tease him because we always said, He’s going the same way. He’s going right all the time. He went right all the time and you could sit on that right hand of his and he’s still going right. He was going right. He didn’t care what you did, he was going right all the time.
By the way, ever wonder where ‘Hot Rod’ came from? It was nickname given by his stepmother, who was “amused by all the engine sounds made by a young Williams when playing on the floor with toy cars.” Yep, both as youngsters and adults, the #3 can sure be verbally expressive!
Written by: Staff
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