It’s been 129 years, 8 months, and 30 days since James Naismith decided to nail 2 peach baskets 10 feet up on the walls of what is now Springfield College and have 9 players on each team attempt to throw the balls in the opposition’s basket, creating the game we know and love today as basketball. Since then, we’ve witnessed many greats, from the human cheat code in Wilt Chamberlain, to whom some consider the undisputed greatest of all-time in Micheal Jordan, to even the modern-day superstars in the sharpshooting Stephen Curry and the constant professional LeBron James. But throughout the history of the game there have been few players to encapsulate the hearts of fans just as much as the aforementioned superstars, these players are known as players the streets will never forget. So join me as I highlight 2 of these players and I recount to you what they did to capture the hearts of fans, and where they are today.
Jason “White Chocolate” Williams
Drafted 7th overall by the Sacramento Kings in 1998, Jason Williams nicknamed “White Chocolate” was must-see TV during the first half of his career. In every sense of the word, Jason was an entertainer, his various extravagant passes, and his ability to combine what many know as streetball and proper basketball into an NBA game made him a cult hero amongst basketball fans.
Following Jason’s retirement from the NBA back in the 2010/11 season with Memphis he had a brief stint in CBS’s BIG3, 3v3 basketball league as a member of Rashad Lewis’s 3 Headed Monsters team. Since leaving the league, Jason has elected to live a private life and spend time with his family.
Career stats: 10 PTS 2.3 REB 5.9 AST
If you were to ask an average NBA fan who is the best ball-handler of all time, they’d probably bring up the likes of Allen Iverson, Kyrie Irving, or maybe even Steve Nash, but now if you were to ask a more hardcore fan who’s the best ball handler of all time, without a doubt Jamal Crawfords name will be brought up. Drafted 8th overall by the Chicago Bulls in 2000 Crawford would go on to win three 6th man of the year awards and dazzle NBA fans’ eyes for 20 years. His ball-handling ability was simply magical. He’s what @BallDontStop on Twitter would call a hooper, not a basketball player.
Jamal hasn’t officially retired just yet, with reports that he was looking to make an NBA comeback just last season, but it appears as if things fell through, with him missing the entirety of the 2020/21 season. Despite Jamal not being able to secure an NBA contract he still remains an active member in the Basketball community hosting the anual Crawsover Pro-AM which sees high caliber players of all levels compete. Not only does the camp offer a Pro-AM for more seasoned hoopers to compete in, but also an option for younger players to train and learn from those more experienced ballers.
Career stats: 14.6 PTS 2.2 REB 3.4 AST