Tributes pour in for Kelly Williams after retirement
MANILA, Philippines — Kelly Williams arrived in the Philippines as what he described as a “skinny no-name kid from Detroit” in 2005. Little did he know that he’ll have one of the most decorated careers in the PBA.
The TNT KaTropa veteran announced his retirement from professional basketball on Monday in a stunning move as he had just been given a contract extension until the end of the year.
“It’s with gladness that I announce my retirement from basketball,” said Williams, 38, on his Instagram account. “I couldn’t have predicted that I’ve had the kind of career I was able to experience.”
The 6-foot-6 Williams was selected as the top pick by the Sta. Lucia franchise in 2006. The former Oakland University standout led the Realtors to the crown in the 2007-2008 Philippine Cup and was named Most Valuable Player that season.
Williams was not only known for his athleticism but his ability to rise above adversity. He was named Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 after helping TNT to the title just a few months after he was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder.
Williams, who also played for the national team, was a five-time All-Star and a three-time member of the Mythical First Team.
Fellow PBA stars paid tribute to the six-time PBA champion.
“Great career,” said Ginebra guard Mark Caguioa, referring to Williams’ stint in the PBA.
“I’m sad and happy another great player is retiring. I’m glad I got to play with you on the national team.”
“It was an honor competing against you on the court in those dunk contests,” said Rain or Shine forward Gabe Norwood.
Still in shock, gonna miss seeing @KelWilliams21 on the court. At the same time, I’m happy for your next chapter in life my brother. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to play alongside you on TNT and Gilas. But moreover I’m honored to call you my brother! We more then teammates.ADVERTISEMENT
— Jared Dillinger (@JDaredevil2) September 7, 2020
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