Mo Williams hit the NBA scene as a 2003 draft pick by the Utah Jazz. As a rookie, he scored about 5 points per game. But free agency found him on the Milwaukee Bucks’ roster the following year. With the Bucks, Williams upped his game point average to 10.2 and provided over 6 assists each match. By 2006, the Bucks traded him to the Toronto Raptors, but Miami Heat acquired him by December of that year. His best run was with the Cleveland Cavaliers where he won his first NBA championship and made the All-Stars in 2016. With the Cavaliers, he and LeBron James sparked up an electrifying and formidable alliance on the court.
In 2017, after wavering to commit to a 14th season, Williams retired from the Cavaliers. Two years later, he’s got a new gig. California State University, Northridge took Williams on as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. The players, who are young enough to recall Williams and LeBron mixing it up on the hardwood, are starstruck. They admire and respect their new coach and his 13-year NBA career.
Boris Diaw — President of Metropolitans 92
With a tweet and a vid, Boris Diaw announced his retirement from the NBA. “This is it. . . It was a good run.” And with that, he sailed off to live on a boat with two of his bros. Sweet departure. Diaw is a French basketball star who has played 14 seasons in the NBA. He towered as a power forward for the Suns, the Spurs, the Hawks, the Jazz, and the Bobcats. The 6-foot-8 forward also racked up medals and titles playing for two separate French teams in the European league. He won his first NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. He led in total assists and was second in total rebounds to defeat the Miami Heat 4-1.
This summer, Diaw was named the president of Levallois Metropolitans, a French team he played with during the 2017-2018 season. The team is based in Levallois-Perret and competes at the highest-tier level of French basketball. Metropolitans 92 won the French Cup in 2013 and the Match des Champions in 2013. Pretty cushy job. He’ll have to leave his boat for a few months to preside over the team!
Lloyd Walton – Counselor
Lloyd Walton signed with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1976. The 6-foot-1 point guard played four seasons before retiring in 1980. In 2018 he was hired on as a Certified Life Coach after completing a doctoral degree in organizational leadership. He is only the third player in NBA history to achieve this level of education. Currently, he mentors NBA players as a career counselor for the National Basketball Players Association. He assists athletes as a personal life coach to guide them with their transition planning goals. He also provides motivational speaking leadership.
We tell them 4.7 years is the average career, so that means when you are 25, 26 years old, your dream is over. They need to be ready for life after basketball. As a practicing counselor, that’s what Lloyd Watson tells the young athletes. Now he knows. When he was a recent retiree from the NBA, he learned the lesson the hard way. Taking off his jersey for the last time, he suddenly realized that scoring ten-plus points a game was not going to get him hired at IBM. After he left the court, he held various assistant coaching positions as well as a position as Executive Director of the James Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chicago.
Jason Richardson – Student
Since Jason Richardson retired from the NBA four years ago, he’s been staying at home coaching his son, Jason Richardson, Jr., and finishing a degree in sports business. Coaching is tempting, he said, but, “I’m more interested in how you put a team together, the salary cap, getting teams to work well together.” Working in an NBA front office is his goal these days. That, and helping his boy achieve a pro basketball career.
As a 14-season pro basketball player, his goal as a shooting guard was scoring points for the Golden State Warriors. In 2002 and 2003, he won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He made the All-Rookie First Team in 2002. Williams also played for the Charlotte Bobcats, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers. Sadly, due to bone spurs in his knee, he was forced to retire. He was advised by doctors that continuing to play might permanently impair his ability to walk.
Metta World Peace – Coach
Metta World Peace, known as Ron Artest until 2011, took the old school road to the pros. Growing up in the projects of Queens, New York, he was discovered on neighborhood basketball courts playing hoops with some rough elements. In one YMCA-sponsored basketball event, a player was stabbed to death with a broken stick. No sweat. Artest took a scholarship at St. John’s University and led the Red Storm to the Big East Conference. He spent his summer breaks showboating at high-profile N.Y.C. summer basketball tourneys, earning him nicknames like “The New World Order.” In 1999, he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls. His NBA career spanned 18 glorious years.
A career highlight occurred during the Lakers/Celtic championship game. Kobe passed to Artest and, with less than a minute left in Game 7 of the NBA finals, he sank a 3-pointer. Artest’s basket sealed the win for the Lakers’ 2010 championship. They haven’t made it to the finals since. Metta World Peace says he’s still grateful for the moment that was the “biggest shot” of his career. A new documentary about his somewhat stormy life on the court released this summer. Titled, “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story,” it was produced by Bleacher Report and premiered on Showtime. Today he’s working for his favorite team. He started coaching the South Bay Lakers, which is the L.A. Lakers’ development-league team, in 2017.