A “Lil Positivity”: Ex-New York Knick, Ray Williams Goes From Homeless To The Mayor’s Office

- By Bossip Staff Categories: A "Lil Positivity", Ballers, Blast From the Past

Ray Williams has an amazing story of success, failure, and returning to his home to a community that embraces him and cheers from him just like when he was on the court.

Welcome home, Ray Williams. It’s time to start over. After 13 years of mostly bouncing anonymously through Florida from dead-end to dead-end — the last 13 months sleeping in old faded vehicles in Pompano Beach — Williams has returned to the town where he was born and raised and is still revered.

“We needed Ray back — for a lot of reasons,” said Mt. Vernon Mayor Clinton Young (pictured above, left, with Williams). “He’s still respected and very much admired here. He can help us get things done. And he’s a tremendous lesson on success, falling down — then getting back up again. It was time for Ray to come home.”

Williams, 56, played 10 seasons in the NBA (1977-87). He was captain and point guard of the adored New York Knicks, the toast of nearby Madison Square Garden when he led them to their only 50-victory season in a 15-year span. Just a year later for the cross-river New Jersey Nets, he scored 52 points — set a one-game franchise record that still stands — against the Detroit Pistons.

Those memories never died, even if a part of him did. When his playing career ended, he started a gradual, downward slide, spiraling through a series of bad choices, bad investments, bad advice. Life after basketball was like quicksand. He kept sinking.

He had no plan, no steady job, no real skills. He lost his home, his marriage, his health and his children, eventually leaving him broke, leaving him to fish off a Florida pier every morning just so he had something to eat every night. That’s where Mayor Young found him, after reading about his plight. Williams virtually had dropped out of sight, fighting through both physical and emotional issues. Convincing him to return wasn’t easy.

“I always wanted to come back and help the community where I grew up, but not unless I had a good job, where I didn’t have to depend on my mother, or anyone else,” Williams said. “So I think this is going to work. It just feels right. I’ll make it right.”

Although Williams was hired with the title of “Recreation Specialist,” Mayor Young wants him as a spark to revitalize the town’s sports and recreation facilities, using his past fame to raise money, and open doors with contractors and developers that might otherwise be closed.

Congratulations Ray! Hopefully this new lease on life is the beginning of something great for you and your family.



  • Keep it Real

    The NBA has one of the best pensions. I think they get 180k a year. Some other things are going on with this guy.

    • NiNi

      Year pension plan began: 1965

      Similar to the NFL, the NBA bases its pension on the number of years its athletes have been in the league. Benefits originally went solely to those playing at least three seasons after 1965. But a revision in 1988 extended coverage to those playing at least five seasons prior to 1965, with pre-1965 players receiving at least $100 a month per season and post-1965 players receiving at least $200.

      That monthly payment has not increased dramatically since 1988. In 2001, it was only at $306.34 per month for each season played — regardless of performance. Meaning both Michael Jordan and the 12th man on any bench would get the same $50,000 after a 14- or 15-year career.

  • jazzie

    Good for him

  • Getem

    Yayyyyyyyy! Good for him!

  • nana

    Are u paying attention Lamar, kobe and em?????

  • Dat sum real N*gga Sh*t!

    This a truly heart warming story! I saw the episode about him on 60 minutes and thought that surely someone would see he was a good guy and give him a break. Well someone did and he truly deserves it! Good for you Ray. The Lord does work miracles, when you have faith!

  • Dat sum real N*gga Sh*t!

    Or was it on Real Sports…

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