September 17th 1983: The New York Knicks re-acquire Ray Williams
The New York Knicks re-acquired their former 1st round pick Ray Williams via two separate trades. The Knicks first traded backup shooting guard Vince Taylor and a 1984 1st round pick to the Indiana Pacers for future Hawks GM Billy Knight. The Knicks subsequently traded Knight to the Kansas City Kings for Williams.
Unlike his first go-around with the Knicks, Williams played more of the shooting guard role alongside Rory Sparrow. The backcourt, alongside Bernard King, helped lead the Knicks to the playoffs. He only spent one season with the Knicks in his second go-around before joining the Boston Celtics for an NBA Finals run in 1985 and then a few more pit-stops with the Atlanta Hawks, San Antonio Spurs, and New Jersey Nets. He retired from the NBA in 1987.
Ray Williams was one of the more unheralded guards during the post-Clyde Frazier era. He was drafted 10th overall in 1977 as the replacement for Clyde. As a native of Mount Vernon, it was a great opportunity to shine at home. He showed a penchant for scoring nearly 20 points a game and averaged nearly 6 assists a game and more than 2 steals a game as the starting point guard. He split guard duties with Micheal “Sugar Ray” Richardson to temporarily become of the more potent backcourt duos in the NBA. Williams even became captain of the team in 1980.
Williams suffered many hardships, including homelessness and bankruptcy, after his NBA career ended. His life came full circle in 2010 when then-Mount Vernon Mayor Clinton Young Jr. connected with Williams to hire him as the city’s Recreation Specialist. His task was to rejuvenate the recreational activities provided to inspire the youth.
Though he passed away in 2013 due to colon cancer, his legacy still lives on in Knick history and in Mount Vernon.
Knicks Film School Historian, amongst other things