Q&A with NBRPA Las Vegas Chapter President Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams

Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams is the president of the NBRPA’s Las Vegas Chapter. He was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft. Williams played nine years (1996-2005) in the NBA as a member of the Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and New York Knicks. Since leaving the NBA, Williams established the JYD Project, which is a youth development program. He is also currently the head basketball coach at Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada, a high school that has produced a number of athletes who have gone on to play in the NBA.

Williams recently joined LegendsofBasketball.com’s Marlissa Herring to discuss the progress of the NBRPA’s Las Vegas Chapter.  

What’s new with the Las Vegas Chapter?

Well, we’ve been mentoring the Finley Prep Pilots here in Henderson, Nevada. They have become a top seven team in the country this year. We also welcomed a new member in Mike Austin formerly of the Miami Heat, Utah Jazz, and Orlando Magic. Right now we’re gearing up for our first community service event of 2014, which is a basketball camp for kids with autism that is with Touro University and the JYD Project.

Why did you get involved with the NBRPA as a chapter leader?

I think Las Vegas (Chapter) has some potential with the amount of guys here that live in the community and retired here when their career and playing days were over. I just felt like it’d be a great city to have a retired players chapter because a lot of players visit here during the summer. You have the NBA Summer League as well as it (Las Vegas) being a hotbed for basketball with AAU’s and different leagues during the summers. So, I just felt that we needed a presence here to be able to help players.

What are your goals for the Las Vegas Chapter?

My goals for the Las Vegas Chapter is to really build a strong community brand that people in the community recognize and businesses like to affiliate themselves with. It’s a very slow process in building a non-profit and they’re not done overnight but,  I know that through hard work, perseverance, and the national office, this chapter will be a strong one even though we don’t have a NBA franchise located in Las Vegas. We’re a little different and we have to set things up a little differently so we just have a little slower process.

What are upcoming events for the Las Vegas Chapter?

This summer we are looking to partner with the JYD project and other community partners in a golf outing. We’re looking forward to that but, we haven’t made any official announcements as of yet. That is something that is coming down the pike and we look forward to seeing a lot of chapters out here (Las Vegas) for that.

If other NBRPA Members in your area want to get involved in the Las Vegas Chapter, whom should they contact?

They should contact us at (702) 589-4657; we’d love to have them. We’re just a growing chapter, a young chapter, and we’re just helping out in the community and looking to build on all of our names and guys that have played this game.

 

 

 

 

 

NBRPA Day of Caring a huge success with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) partnered with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals on December 19 for a “Day of Caring.” As part of this very special holiday community event, more than 40 former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters visited with patients at children’s hospitals in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Phoenix.

“On behalf of the NBRPA Board of Directors, I would like to thank the Chapter Presidents and all of the members who participated in the Children's Miracle Network Legends Day of Caring,” said Board Chairman Otis Birdsong. “As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the NBRPA is dedicated to giving back and serving communities – especially during the holiday season. Thank you to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, our philanthropic partner, for making this incredible day possible.”

Steve Hayes, a member of the NBRPA Board of Directors, visited Texas Children's hospital with the NBRPA Houston Chapter -- the largest group participating in the Day of Caring.

"We had a great turnout from the Houston Chapter and it was a great event to be a part of -- seeing how the members of our organization truly care and feel for these kids, their parents, and appreciation to the hospital workers for taking care of these kids," Hayes said. "We brought lots of smiles to children, their parents, and staff. The highlight of the day was Moses Malone playing the guitar while the Legends sang Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer to a little girl."

Click below to watch video of Moses Malone leading fellow Houston Chapter Members Robert Reid, Major Jones and Reggie Dixon in a singalong.

NBRPA Members talked about the event on Sirius/XM’s new NBA Channel and local media outlets from FOX and CBS covered the Day of Caring. Several of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals came back to the NBRPA with glowing reports about our members.

CHICAGO: The guys were SO fabulous ... kind, funny, and jumped right in to hang with the patients and families. Everyone had such a great time. We are happy to have them back any time

DETROIT: They were a hit with both patients and the staff, everyone really enjoyed themselves. Our staff remarked that this was the best visit we have had in a long time because they were so down to earth.

HOUSTON: The hospital has a very high census at this time so their visit was a wonderful distraction for the patients and their families. In the two hour time-frame, we were able to visit one inpatient floor as well as our Renal Dialysis Unit. All in all I’d say it was a great success! Hope the guys left feeling very satisfied for the time they spent at Texas Children’s bringing joy to our patients.

PHOENIX: The guys had a fantastic time and the kids had so much fun with them. They were super laid back and incredibly funny which made it a great visit. We had one mom thank them for making her son smile for the first time all day.

Participating NBRPA Members included:

CHICAGO CHAPTER: Emmette Bryant (Boston Celtics/New York Knicks/DePaul), Dave Corzine (Chicago Bulls/DePaul), Jeff Sanders (Chicago Bulls), and Kevin Porter (Detroit Pistons/Washington Bullets)

DALLAS CHAPTER: Cincy Powell (Dallas Chaparrals/ABA All-Star), Willie Davis (Dallas Chaparrals), Ira Terrell (Phoenix Suns/SMU), Steffond Johnson (Los Angeles Clippers)

DETROIT CHAPTER: Willie Norwood (Detroit Pistons), Willie Burton (Miami Heat), Maceo Baston (Indiana Pacers/University of Michigan), Earl Higgins (Indiana Pacers/Eastern Michigan)

HOUSTON CHAPTER: Major Jones (Houston Rockets), Ollie Taylor (New York Nets/University of Houston), Howard Smith (Harlem Globetrotters), Louis Dunbar (Harlem Globetrotters/University of Houston), Moses Malone (Hall of Fame/Houston Rockets/Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Loder (Kansas City Kings), David Lattin (San Francisco Warriors/UTEP), Allen Leavell (Houston Rockets), Steve Hayes (Houston Rockets), Skyy Foreman (Harlem Globetrotters),George Campbell (Harlem Globetrotters), Robert Reid (Houston Rockets), Chris Morris (New Jersey Nets/Utah Jazz) and Reggie Dixon (Harlem Globetrotters)

LAS VEGAS CHAPTER: Spencer Haywood (ABA MVP/NBA All-Star/Seattle Sonics), Keith Starr (Chicago Bulls), Jerome Williams (New York Knicks/Toronto Raptors)

LOS ANGELES CHAPTER: Michael Cooper (5x NBA Champion/NBA Defensive Player of the Year/Los Angeles Lakers), Sam Williams (Philadelphia 76ers), Rick Darnell (Virginia Squires)

ORLANDO CHAPTER: Tree Rollins (Orlando Magic/Atlanta Hawks), Greg Minor (Boston Celtics), Tony Battie (Orlando Magic/Boston Celtics) and Greg Kite (Orlando Magic/Boston Celtics)

PHOENIX CHAPTER: Matt Fish (Los Angeles Clippers), Nick Sheppard, Claude Terry (Denver Nuggets), Steven Colter (Portland Trailblazers/Washington Bullets)

Q&A with NBRPA Member Jerome Williams

Jerome “Junk Yard Dog” Williams is from Washington, D.C. A durable 6-foot-9 power forward, he played at Georgetown University in the mid 1990s. Williams was selected by the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft. He played nine years (1996-2005) in the NBA as a member of the Pistons, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks. Williams is currently the head coach at Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV), a national power that has produced a number of athletes who have gone on to play in the NBA. Williams also serves as President of the NBRPA's Las Vegas Chapter. 

Q: How did you get the nickname Junkyard Dog?
I got the nickname from my teammates in Detroit my rookie year, Grant Long and Rick Mahorn, for my hard work and hustle.

Q: When you have time to reflect on your NBA career, what sticks out in your mind the most?
What sticks out in my mind the most is probably when I retired I was still being offered contracts. It’s probably the thing that sticks out in my mind the most because all of my career I just heard about everybody who hung up their shoes or had to hang up their shoes, either by force, by injury, by skill - those are pretty much the only things I ever heard. I never heard of too many players just walking away - but there have been some. Don’t get me wrong, I know some guys have done that. I guess in my circumstance I turned down a significant amount of money when I did decide I was going to hang it up. That’s what sticks out in my mind the most because I’m always going back to that moment saying, did I make the right decision? And yes, I did.

Q: So what would be the proudest moment of your NBA career?
The proudest moment of my NBA career would be getting drafted. That was my proudest moment because you can’t even start your NBA career until your name is called. People and athletes don’t realize how hard it is to get your name called. There is a multitude of circumstances that go into it. I was just happy that it happened for me. That was probably my happiest moment. After that, I never had another tear in my eye in reference to basketball and the NBA.

Q: How did your time at Georgetown University prepare you for success in the NBA and after the NBA?
Graduating. Graduating from Georgetown with a quality education made a huge difference. It’s a different level of respect that you get from organizations, from fans, from business owners, from sponsors. It gave me the platform and the foundation that I needed to understand a lot of the business nuances that the NBA put in front of me. It also helped me work with the union and represent a lot of players in collective bargaining agreements and negotiation with the owners. So I really hold that education high and really stress to younger players that getting that education will really help you in the long run because now post career that’s the one thing that gave me the confidence to end my career early. I had so many other opportunities outside of the NBA that were available while I was playing and of course after I decided I didn’t want to play anymore the opportunities were still coming. Just from the mere fact that I graduated from school, I have no limitations. Having a degree from Georgetown gives me no limitations in terms of what I want to do at any given moment. Whereas if I didn’t have that degree I’d always have to say well I got to finish this, I gotta get my degree first, I gotta do this, I gotta do that. I don’t have to think that way.

Q: You are known for being community service oriented. Why is community service so important for you?
Giving back is a way of life. It’s something that I’m just so blessed and honored to have been put in a position to even give back. Helping others is an honor.

Q: Can you tell me more about your organization, JYD Project?
It started in Detroit as a part of my brother’s program, but then when I moved to Las Vegas it grew into something more. The JYD initially was a play on my nickname, ‘Junk Yard Dog’ but it now stands for Jerome’s Youth Development Project. The goal is to steer kids into activities that help them realize their full potential - whether preparing for college or other careers.

Q: Findlay Prep has produced NBA talent ready players. What has it been like to coach players with this caliber of talent?
I started off at as a volunteer for about five years. I was mainly involved in the scrimmages. Over time I became involved in player development and being an assistant coach. So when it comes to development and being around top high school talent at Findlay Prep - they gave me that opportunity and I’m very appreciative of that. And when they asked me to become the head coach, it was a huge honor for me, just a huge blessing.

Q: Some people have described Findlay Prep, not as a high school, but as a ‘destination school,’ how would you describe it?
Wow, well, I guess most people don’t know the history of the school. It started off as a high school and when the economy took a hit, all of the parents and the students started withdrawing from the high school, but Findlay prep stayed. So when I hear people saying ‘it’s not a high school,’ I’m saying to myself, they don’t know the history. If you lived here in Nevada, you know Henderson International had two campuses. My kids went to the lower school campus, which was pre-school through eighth grade and then the upper school campus was ninth through twelfth grade, which was Findlay Prep of Henderson International School. So, when they say it’s not a high school, its a destination school, I don’t understand what that means because they have a football field not a turf football field. And I’ve never seen one at any of the elementary schools that I’ve grown up in. So what kind of destination school are they thinking of? An Olympic sized swimming pool in an elementary school? That’s a negative. I’ve never seen that. A full service cafeteria in an elementary school – I’ve never seen that either. I hate to use the word ‘haters’ so I won’t use it, but I know that the tuition at the schools is a lot. So I wish it were a ‘destination school,’ maybe it’d be a lot cheaper.

Q: What advice would you give to current NBA players about life after the NBA?
My current advice would be to take advantage of the networking within the NBA circles. One thing you don’t want to have to do when you retire is have to ask somebody can you do me a favor. Take advantage while you’re there so one day you can do someone else a favor.

NBRPA PARTNERS WITH CHILDREN’S MIRACLE NETWORK HOSPITALS FOR ‘DAY OF CARING

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) today announced that several of its chapter cities are participating in a “Day of Caring” with the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals on December 19, 2013. As part of this very special holiday community event, former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA and Harlem Globetrotters will visit with patients at children’s hospitals in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando and Phoenix.

“As a 501(c)3 charitable organization, the National Basketball Retired Players Association is dedicated to giving back and serving communities – especially during the holiday season,” said Otis Birdsong, a former NBA All-Star and NBRPA Chairman of the Board. “Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is our philanthropic partner and our chapters and members are thrilled to join forces with this organization to visit local member children’s hospitals and meet young patients.”

Details of the NBRPA/Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Day of Caring hospital visits on December 19 are as follows (all times EASTERN):

CHICAGO CHAPTER – 3 p.m. ET
Lurie Children's Hospital
225 E Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Emmette Bryant (Boston Celtics/New York Knicks/DePaul), Dave Corzine (Chicago Bulls/DePaul), Jeff Sanders (Chicago Bulls), and Kevin Porter (Detroit Pistons/Washington Bullets)

DALLAS CHAPTER – 3 p.m. ET
Cook Children’s Medical Center
801 Seventh Ave
Fort Worth, TX 76104
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Cincy Powell (Dallas Chaparrals/ABA All-Star), Willie Davis (Dallas Chaparrals), Ira Terrell (Phoenix Suns/SMU), Steffond Johnson (Los Angeles Clippers)

DETROIT CHAPTER – 2 p.m. ET
Beaumont Children's Hospital: 3601 W. Thirteen Mile Road
Royal Oak, Michigan 48073
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Willie Norwood (Detroit Pistons), Willie Burton (Miami Heat), Maceo Baston (Indiana Pacers/University of Michigan), Earl Higgins (Indiana Pacers/Eastern Michigan)

HOUSTON CHAPTER – 11 a.m. ET
Texas Children's Hospital
6621 Fannin St.
Houston, TX 77030
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Major Jones (Houston Rockets), Ollie Taylor (New York Nets/University of Houston), Howard Smith (Harlem Globetrotters), Louis Dunbar (Harlem Globetrotters/University of Houston), Moses Malone (Hall of Fame/Houston Rockets/Philadelphia 76ers), Kevin Loder (Kansas City Kings), David Lattin (San Francisco Warriors/UTEP), Allen Leavell (Houston Rockets), Steve Hayes (Houston Rockets), Skyy Foreman (Harlem Globetrotters),George Campbell (Harlem Globetrotters), Robert Reid (Houston Rockets), Chris Morris (New Jersey Nets/Utah Jazz) and Reggie Dixon (Harlem Globetrotters)

LAS VEGAS CHAPTER – 1 p.m. ET
Saint Rose Dominican Hospital
3001 State Rose Parkway
Henderson, NV 89052
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Spencer Haywood (ABA MVP/NBA All-Star/Seattle Sonics), Keith Starr (Chicago Bulls), Jerome Williams (New York Knicks/Toronto Raptors)

LOS ANGELES CHAPTER – 2 p.m. ET
Children's Hospital Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Michael Cooper (5x NBA Champion/NBA Defensive Player of the Year/Los Angeles Lakers), Sam Williams (Philadelphia 76ers), Duane Cooper (Los Angeles Lakers)

ORLANDO CHAPTER – 2 p.m. ET
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children
92 W Miller St.
Orlando, FL 32806
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Tree Rollins (Orlando Magic/Atlanta Hawks), Greg Minor (Boston Celtics), Tony Battie (Orlando Magic/Boston Celtics) and Greg Kite (Orlando Magic/Boston Celtics)

PHOENIX CHAPTER – 12 p.m. ET
Phoenix Children's Hospital
1919 E Thomas Rd.
Phoenix, AZ 85006
PARTICPATING FORMER PLAYERS: Matt Fish (Los Angeles Clippers), Nick Sheppard, Claude Terry (Denver Nuggets), Steven Colter (Portland Trailblazers/Washington Bullets)

About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4.7 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity's Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit's mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children's hospitals need community support, and learn about your member hospital, at CMNHospitals.org and facebook.com/CMNHospitals.