Two days ago, Lou Williams made NBA history by becoming the most prolific point scorer coming off the bench. This great accomplishment is something Williams should be proud of. Having spent most of his career playing this role, it was not always easy for him to be the 6th man. This role, he learned to embrace thanks to a certain Allen Iverson.
But where does AI actually played a role in this story? Many will wonder, but here’s the truth (I’m not talking about Paul Pierce): When Lou Williams was drafted in the 45th position by the Philadelphia Sixers in 2005, he landed in Iverson’s franchise who was still at the peak of his career. After spending two years spinning towels and bringing fresh lemonade to his teammates, Lou became a prominent member of Philly’s bench during the 07-08 season. Averaging 11.5 points and 3.2 dimes in just over 23 minutes per game, and Iverson playing for the Denver Nuggets, he was able to leave his mark on the field.
October 2009, Lou Williams starts his first NBA game against the Orlando Magic, 4 years after being drafted. He would go on to score 18 points on a very promising first appearance which would earn him a starter spot on the squad until this jaw injury in late November.
This event was punctuated by the return of the Answer, Allen Iverson in the city of brotherly love just a few days later. Williams eventually had to get back to the bench. Looking back on it, Lou thinks it was all for the greater good.
“Iverson was the reason I ended up coming off the bench. When he came back to Philly, I was in a really good run and I ended up getting hurt when he came in. He got the starting spot. That kind of solidified me as a role player. But for him, he’s a Hall of Fame guy, an MVP-caliber guy, I wouldn’t expect him to accept a bench role like that.”
Iverson absolutely never accepted to be a role player, which wasn’t Lou’s case. He even took this new mission very seriously and his sacrifices have now payed off as he just became the all-time best scoring player coming off the bench. How ironic things can be for someone with such a different mindset than Lou to be the tipping point of William’s greatest accomplishment. According to the LAC player, he wouldn’t even be in the NBA anymore if he didn’t take that path. That is actually kind of what happened to AI.
“I probably would have been done, to be honest with you, if I didn’t accept a reserve role; I would have been done because I would have been chasing something for someone else that probably wasn’t for me. I had to embrace what was for me and my career and go get it.”
Mission accomplished for Lou Williams who has now become the symbol of a team player, a hard worker and a truly humble role model for anyone aspiring to become a professional athlete.