American Basketball Icons That Shaped The Game Part IV: Jason Williams

At first look, Jason Williams’ stats might not jump out at you, but I think his impact on the game goes beyond what you see on paper. Jason “White Chocolate” Williams revolutionized the way passing the ball was viewed. Growing up in West Virginia, Williams Earned his reputation for passing early on and that would follow him the rest of his athletic career.

Although he only averaged 10.5 points per game and 6 assists per game throughout his NBA career, Jason Williams’ impact lies in his highlight reel. It is rare to see a player who focuses on flash as much as Williams did and be successful. His journey began in high school where he became the first player at DuPont High School to have 1’000 points and 500 assists in their high school athletic career. He continued his trend in college. He attended Marshall and later the University of Florida to follow the head coach Billy Donavan. In his freshman year, he averaged nearly 14 points and 7 assists a game and after sitting out a year because of his transfer, he came back to average 17 points, 7 assists and 3 steals per game for Florida.

He began his NBA journey with the Sacramento Kings after being selected 7th overall in the 1998 NBA draft. It was there he was given the nickname “White Chocolate” due to his street-ball style of play. Jason Williams also had his most iconic pass in his career that year when he successfully completed a no-look, behind-the-back, elbow-tap pass in transition. This helped kick-start his legacy of being one of the best and flashiest passers this league has ever seen. He was also known for pulling off crazy three-point shots and being a consistent shooter. But he was always a threat to pass first and set up an open teammate. Another iconic trait he had was his nonchalant style of playing ball. He always appeared cool under pressure and never tried to have the spotlight on him as many NBA stars attempt to do. While some critics took this as him not taking his job in the NBA seriously, Williams was just focused and was enjoying his time on the court which can be seen by his flashy moves.

Williams went on to have a 13-year career that included him retiring in 2008 and returning in 2009, and officially retiring in 2011. He won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in the 2005-2006 season and also played with the Grizzlies, Magic along with the Kings. One of the main priorities in his life is his family and was always prioritizing them throughout his career and still managed to be an effective NBA player.

While Jason Williams might not be one of the greatest NBA legends of all time, he changed the game significantly. He showed the league that flashy moves can be exciting but also effective, and that “passing the ball will get you a lot of bread” as is one of his motto’s today. He proved you can be untraditional and still make a statement in the league. No one has seen players capable of pulling off his moves as flawless ad he did before, during, or even since his career has come to an end. And for that, Jason Williams is an icon that left his mark in the NBA forever.