Breaking: FD Breaks News
DATELINE, me on the phone with Lou Williams — So last week, I'm interviewing Sixers guard Lou Williams for the revived Converse Yearbook. He's telling me that he didn't really feel like he could be an NBA player until he went to camp as a rookie and realized he could hang.
If you're like me, you have vivid memories of the 2005 draft, when Williams, Monta Ellis, and C.J. Miles all stayed in as undersized shooting guards. The thinking was, one of them would probably crack the first round (none did; did the glut hurt?), but three? It was like a game of chicken, one which, while it turned out okay for all of them, could have ruined their careers. If anything, I expected Williams to tell me he stayed in out of confidence, not something that was nearly the opposite.
Here's where we'll pick up the conversation:
Bethlehem Shoals: That’s interesting because you and a couple other young guys came out and everyone was confused why you did. And everyone assumed that you were super confident and could make it at the next level.
Lou Williams: Well, you know, just to have that opportunity and to even get mentioned and be able to go straight out of high school as a 6-1 point guard speaks volumes right there. I was like “okay, well if they think so, why wouldn’t I?” We had a meeting, like a big summit. We were all at USA Basketball. We all sat down, and I think Monta [Ellis] broke the ice and said “hey, I’m declaring, so we're all going." [laughs]
BS: Who was this?
LW: It was Monta Ellis, CJ Miles, Andrew Bynum, Gerald Green, and myself. We all sat in a room. Monta went first. It doesn't compare to LeBron and D-Wade and them all, but you know.
So there you have it. They all went pro not in spite of each other, but basically on a group dare. Solidarity when, quite obviously, they were each others' closest competition. I can't tell if this is really heartening or just absurd, but it's a pretty amazing bit of NBA draft arcana.