09/01/15 by Matthew S. Vandriak
Street ball style with flash and flare. That was how Jason Williams played the game of basketball. From the high school gyms in West Virginia, through college, and for 12 NBA seasons, the man nicknamed "White Chocolate" melted opponents with his highlight reel style of play.
A native of Belle, West Virginia, Williams put his basketball skills on display throughout his high school years. Williams scored over 1,000 points in high school and also recorded 500 assists. One of his teammates at DuPont High School was former NFL star Randy Moss. Moss and Williams helped lead DuPont to the 1994 West Virginia State Championship game, and Williams was named by USA Today as the West Virginia player of the year following the 1994 season. He not only passed to Moss on the basketball court, he did so on the football field as well as the starting quarterback at DuPont in 1992 and 1993.
Williams would go on to play only 2 years of college basketball before turning pro. After high school, he originally decided to keep it in the Mountain State, attending Marshall University. After redshirting his first year, Williams averaged over 13 points and 6 assists per game in his first season on the court for the Thundering Herd. When head coach Billy Donovan took the coaching job at the University of Florida, Williams followed Donovan and transferred to the Gators. NCAA rules forced Williams to sit out the 1996/97 season at Florida, but he returned the court the following season, averaging 17 points per game and almost 7 assists per contest as well. However in early 1998, Williams was suspended for the remainder of the season, which was the third time he was suspended marijuana use.
Williams declared himself eligible for the 1998 NBA Draft, and was selected in the first round by the Sacramento Kings. That's where the "White Chocolate" nickname came to life. With his street ball style, Williams became a human highlight reel early in his career. Behind the back, half court, and no look passes were a staple of his game, along with shooting long distance 3 point shots and a lethal crossover dribble that got "White Chocolate" plenty of air time on highlight shows. The flash and pizazz did come with some risk, as he was turnover prone in his early years. But that style of play is what made Williams who he was.
After playing his first 4 seasons with the Kings, he was traded to Vancouver in 2001. He played 4 seasons with the Grizzlies in both Vancouver and then Memphis before being traded to Miami in 2005. He would win an NBA Championship with the Heat in 2006 and would play in Miami until 2008. Citing chronic injuries, Williams temporarily retired following the 2007/08 season. He would return to the NBA in 2009, and would play parts of 2 seasons with Orlando before finishing 2011 with Memphis. Following the 2011 season, Williams officially retired from the NBA.
Williams had a solid 12 year NBA career where he averaged 10.5 points per game and 5.9 assists in 788 career games. He averaged 8.3 points per game in the playoffs, with a high average of 17 points per game in the 2005 playoffs with Memphis. He started all 23 of Miami's playoff games during the Heat's title run in 2006.
Williams has 3 children, one of whom is making a bit of a name for himself at a young age as well. His 13 year old son Jaxon has turned some heads on the court, already showing some of his dad's skill when it comes to that crossover.
So does that mean in a few years we may see the second coming of Jason Williams in the form of "White Chocolate Jr"? It certainly seems to be in the making, but check out his YouTube highlights and decide for yourself.
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