Playing basketball overseas carries somewhat of a stigma for fans within the US. There’s this notion that if someone isn’t a good enough player to play in the NBA, that they just aren’t good, or maybe that they didn’t manage to have professional success in general. Neither things honestly are really true, as there have been plenty of players that shared time in the NBA as well as playing overseas. Remember Allen Iverson? The guy that broke Michael Jordan’s ankles some years back? What about Tyler Hansbrough, who enjoyed a lengthy stay in the NBA before playing overseas? Ty Lawson is the most recent example of a player that spent time overseas before being invited back to the NBA.
Finally, there is Jawad Williams. A member of the 2005 National Championship team that took down Illinois to give Roy Williams his first title. Since he started his professional basketball career, he had won four championships playing for various teams in various countries. Well, we can now add one more to the list.
Jawad Williams and the Tokyo Alvark defeated the Chiba Jets Funabashi this past saturday 85-60 to win the Japanese B League championship. Williams scored 10 points during the win, and is one of four United States players on the team. This is the Alvark’s third JBL championship title in their 70 year history, and their first title in 11 years. The Alvarks went 44-16 in the regular season, and finished out their championship run winning nine games in a row.
Following the win, Williams spoke about what it took for his team to finish the season as champions:
“I don’t think there was a clear-cut defining moment,” admitted Williams. “We went through a lot as team, losing three-four players every week because of the national team, battling injuries, and just getting to know each other. With these setbacks, we continued to work extremely hard every day.”
A big congratulations goes out to Jawad Williams and his team. Continue to make Tar Heel Nation proud, and hopefully we will be talking about a sixth basketball title for Williams this time next year.