Reality is fickle. There’s a pretty thick line between what is and is not possible. Then there are pioneers who show up to life with a hammer and chisel just to make a dent in the stria that separates the real from the unreal. Of those who work toward creating that notional tunnel, there are a select few who show up with a jackhammer and fuck shit up. It happens across all of life’s verticals, and basketball is no exception.
Jason Williams should never receive a Basketball Hall of Fame vote. He isn’t great in any of the traditional metrics used to separate those who belong in the game’s canon of excellence. He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well from anywhere, he wasn’t built to score the ball, he had average athleticism and a marginally above average basketball IQ. We remember Jason Williams as a Sacramento King, but he only spent three seasons there and was traded away to make room for Mike Bibby — because you can’t win games, divisions or championships with Jason Williams.
Jason Williams should never receive a Hall of Fame vote, but Williams’ impact on the NBA will outlive Williams’ in the flesh. He constantly tinkered with what actions could be possible for a single man to perform. Williams was a wizard without ever playing in Washington. He had eyes sat unnaturally on the sides and back of his head, and he worked more as a creative designer than as a point guard. Williams made up new ways to pass the ball when we thought all possibilities were exhausted. Williams went to work with a jackhammer and disrupted a cultural paradigm.
Williams took nonviable themes and turned them into repeated tropes. Reality is fickle, and Williams is one of the reasons why.
Phillip Barnett featuring Phillip Barnett.