Scott Williams on '93

Posted: June 4, 2003

Current Suns center Scott Williams is the only player from the 1993 NBA Finals to go on to play for the opposing team when he arrived in the Valley of the Sun as a free agent before the 2002-03 season. The then-25-year-old came up big in the Finals against his future team, collecting 14 rebounds in Game 3’s triple-overtime thriller. He averaged 5.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 19 postseason games that year and became only the eighth player in NBA history to earn a championship ring in each of his first three seasons.

Scott shared his thoughts with on the series and what it’s like to play for the Suns after playing against them for the NBA’s biggest prize. Can you believe it’s been 10 years since the 1993 NBA Finals?

Scott Williams: Time has really flown by. I look back at all the teams I’ve played with, the players that I’ve played with, the different playoff runs and now it’s all kind of combobulated together. The ’93 Finals, especially playing Game 6 here in Phoenix, was a special memory that stands out in my mind because we were really kind of flat there in the fourth quarter. (Michael) Jordan makes a great play and then the final play where (John) Paxson hit what turned out to be the game-winning basket kind of epitomizes what our season was all about, what our teams were all about in that run of three years. Everybody that was on the floor touched the ball and it was like we did the whole thing, together. Everybody had their role, everybody played it really well and it was rewarding. How did the Suns compare to the other teams you played against in the Finals?

Williams: The Lakers were obviously a good team, playing in Los Angeles against Magic Johnson. But there was something about the newness of the city of Phoenix being in the Finals for the first time (since 1976) that really captivated this city. You could feel it. We arrived here from Chicago to play the first two games and you could tell the whole city was completely energized with the Suns. It almost gave us a sense of new energy. It’s tough to do it three times in a row and keep that same mental focus. When you come here and see the electricity that this city was producing over the experience of being in the Finals, it really got us motivated. We got off to a great start. We won the first two ball games here, as a matter of fact. So you guys used the energy of this city for your own benefit?

Williams: Certainly and that’s what you had to do. We had guys on our team like Jordan and (Bill) Cartwright, (Scottie) Pippen and Paxson, who were true professionals and they knew the importance of using that energy, not in a negative way, but in a positive way to feed yourselves, to kind of circle the wagons around our inner sanctum and say, “It’s us against the world.” We used it as a motivating factor and not an overwhelming task. What are your memories of what kind of basketball was played in that series overall?

Williams: You play against Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle, Tom Chambers. Those guys were great professionals and for me to be on the floor and playing in a situation like that, those kind of games fulfilled my career, there’s no doubt about it. To see the mental makeup of the players, how they approached not only the basketball court time, but away from the court, how they handled the media. All those types of things really stood out in my mind and made me a truer professional. What was the triple-overtime game like?

Williams: Fantastic game. One of the best games I’ve ever played in, without a doubt, even coming out on the losing side of it. It was just a special moment. The two teams were just kind of fighting like dogs. Every little possession was so important, so magnified. It seemed like our crowd was behind us, but it just seemed like the energy expended seemed to zap us out for our guys as the game went on. I remember I logged 48 minutes in that game. It was the most minutes I’ve ever played in my career in one ball game. Just being a part of something like that is truly a memorable moment. What was it like for you to sign with the Suns after that experience of beating them in the Finals?

Williams: I never really had thought of playing here in Phoenix. I remember my special trip here in ’93, but the opportunity to come here and actually play for the team you ended up beating in the Finals, I was a worried a little bit about how the fans would remember me. But I’ve been welcomed with nothing but open arms. My leadership here has, I think, helped this ball club. I think this is a tremendous city to play for. We have such good fans. When I’m out around town, everyone’s excited about Suns basketball again. Did you hear it at all from the Suns fans at the beginning of the season or now that you’re in Suns purple does it really matter to them?

Williams: It doesn’t really matter. I kind of reminisce sometimes with a few fans because you’ve got a lot of transplanted people here from Chicago that are either now Suns fans or still remember the glory days with the Bulls. I’ve been welcomed with open arms here. I’m very very happy.