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Veteran Lou Williams brings 17-year NBA career to an end

Lou Williams in action in 2010
Lou Williams in action in 2010

Washington Wizards v/s Philadelphia 76ers November 23, 2010” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 .

NBA veteran Lou Williams has announced his retirement from the game after an incredible 17 years, during which he made a name for himself coming off the bench, making an immediate impact and driving his teams forward to victory.

Having been drafted straight out of high school by the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2005, he went on to have one of the league’s most celebrated careers, playing for the likes of the Toronto Raptors, LA Lakers, Houston Rockets and LA Clippers.

He ended his career with a second stint at the Atlanta Hawks, where he also played between 2012 and 2014. However, he hasn’t played for the Hawks since the 2021/22 season and, at the age of 36, has now decided to call it a day.

“Salute to an Atlanta legend,” the Hawks said in a Twitter post. “Nothing but love from us & our city. Enjoy retirement, Lou Will!”

“Thank you all. JJ, Zoe $, Syx Man. Thank y’all. Much love. Happy Fathers Day. Well Done, Underground. Farewell,” Williams posted on Instagram.

Williams’ career in stats

Williams won the NBA’s Sixth Man Award three times: in 2015, 2018 and 2019. Along with Jamal Crawford, he’s one of only two players to claim a hat-trick of wins.

The award recognises players’ effectiveness when coming off the bench and, of the 1,123 regular-season games Williams played across his 17 years, he came off the bench in 1,001. He scored an incredible 13,396 points after coming on during a game.

He brings his career to a close having scored 15,593 points in total, making him the 131st highest-scoring player in NBA history.

Speaking of his talent for coming off the bench and delivering the magic touch, Williams has previously said: “It doesn’t really matter to me whether you start or not. I play a lot of fourth quarters.

“I think that’s what’s most important to me. I think that’s what I’ve always cared about, just having an opportunity to finish games when it’s really winning time.”

Williams relaxed attitude won him plenty of friends in the NBA. “He’s your favorite player’s favorite player,” Mike Scott, who played with Williams at the Hawks, told Slam Online. “Lou is like an uncle. He’s just cool with everybody and everybody respects him. He’s like an old soul, man. He looks young, but Lou is really, like, 60.” 

He may be old of mind, but Williams is certainly young at heart because while it’s unclear what he’ll try his hand at next, he’s often spoken of his ties to and love of hip-hop. Having grown up in Atlanta, he counts local legends like Lil’ Bow Wow and Jermaine Dupri as friends and is said to have compiled songs that he’s recorded but not yet released. 

That hasn’t stopped others from recognising him in their own work though, with both Drake (in ‘6th Man’) and Meek Mill (in ‘I Want It All’) making reference to Williams. Williams also collaborated on the latter, and has worked on ‘I’m On My Dip’ with Gillie Da Kid too. 

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