[This is the fourth edition in Where Is Ben Rivera's series on Forgotten Philadelphia 76ers. These are fun reads filled with nostalgia and humor, and they provide a great change of pace to the site. Keep up the good work WiBR! Check out his previous pieces on Ron Anderson, Mark Hendrickson, Jerald Honeycutt. -ed.]
My mom broke the news to me.
I was in my room, sitting, surrounded by three ring binders and a Beckett’s pricing guide. I was holding a ’91 Skybox Hersey Hawkins. The edges were sharp, the picture, slightly off-center.
It was summer.
"Dave, can you empty the dishwasher?"
"The Sixers signed someone…a forward…Williams."
I perked up. "Buck? Walt? Was it Walt, mom?"
Name: Scott Williams
Born: March 21, 1968
College: North Carolina
Believable Dialogue from 1995:
"Scott Williams has six years left on his contract."
Believable Dialogue from 1998:
"Scott Williams has six years left on his contract."
Slightly Irrational Fan
When I say that Scott Williams is arguably the least popular Sixer in the last twenty-five years, I’m not forgetting anyone. I know who Shawn Bradley is. And I’m well-aware that an aging Chris Webber skipped Fan Appreciation Night, and I know that Keith Van Horn looks like a bowl of oatmeal, and, you know what, I didn’t forget about that guy plucked from Temple’s Theatre Arts program who impersonated Glenn Robinson for a few months.
All strong candidates. All were taken under advisement.
Scott Williams signed a thirty-seven year contract with the Sixers back in 1994.
When he finally left Philadelphia, sometime in the year 2023, Williams had a lower approval rating than every American not named Herbert Hoover - and even that’s debatable, depending on which historian you ask. The only memorable thing about Scott Williams’ stint as a Sixer was its length. Basketball-Reference says that Scott Williams played just five seasons for the Sixers, which only means that Basketball-Reference didn’t live in Philadelphia during the 1990s.
At this point in my piece, I would point to a specific game that our hero starred in. Hey, remember when Willie Burton hung 53 on the Heat? What about when Manute buried six 3’s against Phoenix? And I guess I could scour the archives at this juncture – see if a box score jumped off the page.
Hey, December 19th! Scott pumped in four points and collected four rebounds.
When I got NBA Live ’95 for Sega Genesis, my first order of business was to trade Scott Williams for Dwayne Schintzius. Dwayne’s head was shaped like a perfect cube, and I needed the front court depth. But alas, video games weren’t that advanced back then and you could only trade starters. So since I only played with fatigue ‘on’ (I’m a man’s man after all), my Sixers often went really small with Greg Graham at the #4 and ‘Spoon at the #5. Anything to keep Williams off the court.
Did my 11 year old self hold a grudge? Probably. Even Virtual Scott Williams rubbed me the wrong way.
From a 1994 Chicago Tribune article:
Scott Williams confirmed Wednesday night that he will sign a multiyear deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, ending a somewhat tumultuous but successful four-year run with the Bulls and marking the start of what could be a dismantling of the former champions this summer.
"The Bulls are in a transition period and looking to take the team in a different direction," said Williams.
"They didn't say it, but it was obvious by their lack of communication. That made it easier to leave."
The move by Williams was anticipated by the Bulls, who never made an offer to the free-agent forward. It leaves the team barren of veteran power forwards, with Horace Grant virtually certain to depart, too, and suggests more and more that rebuilding will be in order.
As for Williams, new Sixers General Manager/coach John Lucas welcomed his versatility.
"This gives us another player who can play both power forward and center," Lucas said. "What we really like is his defensive presence and shot-blocking."
Lucas said the Sixers were also attracted to the former Bull's track record as one of only a few players in NBA history to be a member of three world championship teams his first three years in the league.
"He brings a winning atmosphere to this club," Lucas said. "He knows how to win. We like how he competes, his aggressiveness. He's a banger."
I bolded the important plot points of this article:
1) Scott Williams brings a winning atmosphere.
2) Scott Williams knows how to win.
Got it? Good.
This "winner’s mentality" narrative has been around for years. Hell, even my brother played that card in our backyard during our games of one-on-one.
"I just want it more, Dave. I know how to win."
Come on, dude. I’m in second grade. You’re twelve, and you called three moving screens on me.
The 90’s Bulls could have rounded out their bench with every member from Blues Traveler, and they still would have won six championships. So why should Scott Williams be vilified? He played with the best player of our lifetime, collected three rings, and got a huge contract because of it. More power to him, I say. If you want to blame anyone, blame John Lucas. Blame management. Blame the national media. Blame intangibles. Blame Canada.
So I’m sorry Virtual Scott Williams. You deserved better. My Sixers went 12-14 in their abbreviated season over Christmas vacation.
Greg Graham got crushed on the boards.
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