Marvin Williams: The Perfect Teammate
By Sam Perley, hornets.com
You don’t see too many players in the NBA put up career seasons in their 11th year in the league but that’s exactly what Hornets forward Marvin Williams was able to accomplish during an extremely successful 2015-16 campaign for the Charlotte Hornets. Fresh off signing a four-year extension with the organization this past summer, Williams is picking up right where he left off amidst the team’s franchise-record-setting start to the season.
Born and raised in Bremerton, WA, the highly-recruited Williams chose to venture cross country to play collegiate basketball for head coach Roy Williams at the University of North Carolina in 2004. An invaluable sixth man off the bench for an ultra-talented Tar Heels team, Williams was a major factor in helping North Carolina win its first National Championship since 1993, which included putting in the go-ahead basket in the final game against the University of Illinois.
After one year in Chapel Hill, Williams declared for the 2005 NBA Draft and was selected second overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Williams spent a total of seven seasons with the team, posting averages of 11.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists. In the summer of 2012, Williams was traded to the Utah Jazz, where he spent another two seasons.
Toronto Raptors forward DeMarre Carroll played with Williams in Utah and still speaks highly of his time with the current Hornets veteran.
“When you think of the perfect teammate, you think of Marvin,” said Carroll. “True professional, always came in and worked. It didn’t matter if he was starting or coming off the bench. He was the same person. He came in and did the same work every game, every day. In the league, when you’re looking for a high-character guy who can also play, it’s Marvin.”
Williams joined the Hornets after signing a two-year deal with the team in July 2014. After a modest first season with the team, Williams exploded last year with averages of 11.7 points (his highest since 2008-09) on 45.2 percent shooting, including a career-high 40.2 percent from three-point range, while also notching career-best marks in rebounding (6.4), blocks (1.0) and double-doubles (10).
Williams, who also tied a career high with 81 regular season games played last year, was a major focal point of Charlotte’s free agency plans this past offseason and his re-signing brought back an essential veteran presence to a relatively young Hornets team.
“After last season, guys usually take a few months off. Not Marv. He just took two weeks, maybe three weeks, off and he got right back to it,” said Kemba Walker. “That’s pretty unusual for a guy who’s been playing for as long as he’s been playing. Marv is one of the best teammates I’ve ever been around. I’m just happy to have him on my team.”
“He’s always happy,” said Nicolas Batum with a grin. “He tries to make everyone think positive. He’s always the one who is first to talk when something goes wrong. He’s our veteran [and] the older guy on the team now. We need that, especially in the locker room. Sometimes at halftime, we need a little boost. The coach is going to say something to us but [Marvin] is going to say something to us as well. That’s a leader for us.”
The month of November not only signals the beginning of the NBA regular season, but also has significant meaning to Williams with it being Military Family Appreciation month. Williams’ father, Marvin Sr., was stationed with the Navy in San Diego, CA, and later on in Bremerton.
“My dad served in the Navy when I was a kid and I’m from a military town in Bremerton. There’s a naval base there. I’m very appreciative of the veterans - anybody that has served, currently serves or wants to serve. It’s an important time and important thing for our country so I’m definitely thankful,” said Williams.
Like his son, Marvin Sr. was also an outstanding basketball player and even played against Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan from time to time while growing up in Wallace, NC. Marvin Sr. ultimately went on to play in both the Navy and collegiately, giving his son quite an impressive example to emulate.
Run through this Hornets roster, or anybody else in the NBA who has played with him for that matter, and it’s hard to find someone who has a bad thing to say about Williams. Exceptional, all-around on-court abilities combined with invaluable leadership skills are what makes the Hornets so fortunate to have a player like Marvin Williams on their team moving forward.