Lnews of the dismissal of Joris Gnagnon for Sevilla for lack of physical discipline is not an anomaly in the world of sport. Despite the youth of the footballer, it is not strange to see cases of athletes who forget their preparation and abandon themselves, endangering careers that were aiming for the highest. Even in a league as professional as the NBA there are precedents such as Charles Barkley, Eddy Curry o Mike Sweetney.
Although none like John Sam Williams. A power forward who finished his sports career in Spain and who is to date the only player in history who was suspended for an entire season for his overweight problems.
The Los Angeles player, known as ‘Hot Plate’ (‘Hot Plate’), became a reference name in American basketball in its college stage in the ranks of Lousiana State, the same university that years later would light another giant legend: that of Shaquille O’Neal. Williams spent two seasons in the ranks of the Tigers in which pbroke 15.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists, which was enough to be chosen as 1986 draft number 12 -Damn promotion where there is- by those then known as Washington Bullets.
Williams had everything to succeed in the NBA: height, quality, vision of the game … But when he arrived in the league, too Depression and stress accompanied him derived from death of two childhood friends and their grandmother, the financial support of your family. Now his mother, his grandfather and two of his brothers became dependent on him, which began to lead to an anxiety that he mitigated with food.
In his first season in the league (9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds with 45% shooting from the field) Williams showed that he had a place in the elite and confirmed that trend during the next two years (13.7 points and seven rebounds in his third season), making his name sound even to be part of the All Star of the NBA. However, despite his good performances on the court, the Bullets player began to show his problems with the scale, although always controlled.
Williams had established himself as one of the best interiors in the league and in his fourth season he was going straight to the All-Star Game as demonstrated by his 18.2 points and 7.6 rebounds. However, when he had barely played 18 regular league games, his knee said enough after breaking the medial collateral ligament totally and partially the cruciate ligament. An injury that would be the beginning of the end for a Williams who failed to overcome the pothole.
Weight loss premiums
No basketball Williams began to take refuge in food. A cave in which he ended up hiding completely when his father suffered a heart attack An episode that caused Williams to stop attending rehab. So when he returned to the Bullets training center his weight was over 127 kilos. A peso from which it no longer fell despite the economic bonuses ($ 200,000) that the team put on the table as an incentive to help you lose weight.
In the 90-91 season, Williams only played 33 games with the Bullets in which he found it increasingly difficult to jump and run the court. And there was still the worst.
Williams appeared in the training campus of the capital team with a weight above 137 kilos. Too much for the Bullets, who decided to suspend the player for the entire season in a measure unique in NBA history. The Bullets put the limit on him at 118, a figure he never reached and that caused him to leave for the Clippers after the player’s representative requested the transfer and even threatened the team with taking him to court.
After his departure from Washington, two seasons in Los Angeles before packing up and heading to the Pacers, where he played his last 34 games in his NBA career.
Spain, his last refuge
Despite the fact that the physicist did not accompany him, Williams kept his class intact and his basketball convinced the board of directors and the coaching staff of the Covirán Granada, where he soon became one of the fans’ favorites. After a season in Nasrid land, he tried his luck in the TDK Manresa before landing for two seasons in Valladolid, where he showed his best face in Spain.
Changed Pucela for Alicante, where he could barely play a game due to injury and ended his sports career in the City of Huelva, where he hung up his boots with 38 years and the shadow of doubt on his broad shoulders. How far would he have come with a more careful physique?