To Our Basketball Family

Deep in our hearts a memory is kept, Of those we loved and shall never forget.

James “Fly” Williams

James “Fly” Williams (born February 18, 1953) is a retired American professional basketball player. He once scored 100 points in an IS8 League a game in 1978. Born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, New York, he attended Madison High School, where he initially was interested in playing baseball. He was a pitcher, but was advised that he had become too tall to remain competitive in that sport. His initial introduction to basketball did not go well, but he eventually made the adjustment to the new game. His ability to play basketball came from his frequent participation in street basketball games. He played with some of New York’s finest street players such as World B. Free and Earl “the Goat” Manigault. When the games eventually ended, he would go out in search of more opportunities to play basketball. Williams dominated the sport of basketball at Madison High School in the early 1970s. By his freshman year, he was 6 ft 5 in, with outstanding moves, a fantastic shot, a terrific knowledge of the back board action, and could play the crowds. Williams got the nickname “Fly” from his flamboyant wardrobe and playing style. After Williams completed high school, he was recruited by an assistant basketball coach, Leonard Hamilton, to attend Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. Williams arrived on campus in 1972. He was greeted by a reception which included a sky-writing demonstration which spelled out his name. His freshman year, playing as a guard, his scoring record was especially noteworthy. Williams averaged 29.4 points per game in 1973, fifth best in the nation. The Denver Nuggets drafted Williams in the first round of the 1974 ABA Draft. Following the draft, there were several offers to buy the player contract on Williams. Eventually, he was sold to the Spirits of St. Louis. A young sports broadcaster named Bob Costas announced their games. He would later contribute to a book, “Loose Balls: The Short, Wild Life of the American Basketball Association,” a sports book originally published in 1990, by Simon and Schuster, and written by sportswriter Terry Pluto. Williams played in the Continental Basketball Association and the Eastern League. Williams is now retired and works with disadvantaged youth.Williams is listed as the number three athlete on the “50 Greatest Streetballers of All Time” by Street Basketball Association (SBA).

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