What the Hell Happened to...Lorenzo Williams?

At the time, he was an undersized center, although in today's height-challenged NBA, he'd easily be able to man the middle on a regular basis.  His blocks-per-game per-36 minutes were off the charts.  If you followed the Celtics back in the 90s, you definitely remember Lorenzo Williams.

Lorenzo was not drafted out of Stetson University, where he played the final 2 years of his college career.  He spent the 1991-92 season with the Fayetteville Flyers of the Global Basketball Association before returning to the USBL in summer 1992 and playing for the Palm Beach Stingrays.  In October of 92, he'd sign on with the Charlotte Hornets.  After 5 total games with the Hornets and Magic, the Celtics came calling and signed Lorenzo on January 11th of 1993.

He'd play 22 games for the Celtics back in 1993, sticking around for two 10 day contracts and eventually latching on for the rest of the year.  His bpg per 36 minutes in Boston was an impressive 3.3 per game.  He'd actually even appear in one playoff game that season for the Celtics vs the Hornets, which was the tragic last season Reggie Lewis would ever play.  Lorenzo scored 2 points and got 1 rebound in 3 minutes of play.

The Celtics wouldn't retain Williams after the year.  Due to his stellar defense, hustle and terrific ability to block shots, Lorenzo would stick around in the league, ping-ponging between the Hornets, Mavericks, Magic and Bullets.  His last season in the NBA was 2000 with the Bullets.  It's too bad he didn''t appear in the Crystal Waters music video with Calbert Cheaney (bottom of page), since they were teammates in Washington.  Instead Ashraf Amaya got that gig.

When writing this article, one guy kept popping up in my mind playing today that reminded me of Lorenzo: Joel Anthony.  If the Miami Heat were able to win a title last year with Joel Anthony as their primary interior defender, then the Heat also could've won it with Lorenzo Williams.  I think the comparison is a good one. Both limited offensive players who were tough defenders.  But give me Lorenzo any day over Anthony.

Lorenzo with his back to us shooting in practice; that's the elusive Marcus Webb rebounding!

Some interesting tidbits on Lorenzo:
  • Rooted for Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as the Miami Dolphins and Atlanta Braves, as a youngster
  • Says Clint Eastwood is the person he'd most like to meet and names "Jurassic Park" as his favorite movie
  • His favorite musical artist is Luther Vandross

I gotta be honest but I never thought I'd be able to add these two pictures to a WTHHT!  Here ya go Lorenzo!

Back in the 1980s, Johnson was the most popular last name in the NBA, but come the 90s, Williams took over.  By the time of this fun SI article from March of 1993, there were 13 Williams in the NBA.  Lorenzo was the conifer!

It's also important to point out that I was also oh-so-fortunate to meet Lorenzo Williams growing up back in 1993 during the Westchester County Summer League.  Lorenzo gave me his autograph, which you can see to below (next to Alaa Abdelnaby's head) in the program given out that was associated by the league.  I also got Chris Corchiani's autograph during that same event and the year before my brother got Todd Day's game-worn sneaker.  One thing's for sure: the Westchester County Summer League was certainly a hotbed of WTHHT future members.

Lorenzo's autograph and Alaa's head

Come on D Strong!
Like Ronnie Grandison before him, today, Lorenzo has made many positive contributions to children down in Florida working with elementary school kids in fourth and fifth grade for a program called Let it Fly based in Coral Springs (Mike Miller's kids' apparently play for the team).  Lorenzo moved to South Florida seven years ago and began assisting Cardinal Gibbons High School Coach Marty Seidlin with his basketball camps and has a passion for being a positive influence in kids' lives:

"I think it's awesome.  They are like a sponge, and you can lay down the foundation for them for the future," Lorenzo said. "You can also be a positive role model for the kids."

Williams lives in Davie, Florida and works with at-risk kids at Pine Ridge Education Center in Fort Lauderdale as well.  He works with kids who've been suspended and tries to get them on the right path (Marvin Barnes is also involved in this today):

"We get the kids that were expelled 90 to 180 days from school," Williams said. "Those kids are there mainly for discipline actions, and we try and redirect them and get them back on track and keep them involved in their academics also."

Kudos to Lorenzo for making a big difference in kids' lives.  And just think, if Williams played 15 years later, he easily could've had a key role on an NBA title team.  Bottom line: Joel Anthony's got NOTHING on you Lorenzo. And seeing as he lives near South Beach, Williams should swing by and tell Joel that.  Tell him TB sent him.

For a list of all the "What the Hell Happened To" Series please click here.