Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward John 'Hot Rod' Williams has passed away at the age of 53. Williams died of cancer at his home near Sorrento, Louisiana.
Williams, a 6'11" forward, played for the Cavs from 1986 until 1995. During his time with the Cavs, he was one of hte NBA's best sixth men and was a key part of some of the best teams in Cavs history in the late 1980s. Along with Mark Price, Brad Daugherty and others, Williams starred on Cavs teams that won 50-plus games three times.
After the 1989-90 season, Williams signed a seven-year, $26.5 million dollar deal with the Miami Heat that would have paid him $5 million in the first year. At the time, a salary of $5 million would have made him the highest paid player in the NBA. The deal led Williams to famously say 'Right now, I'm a Heat'.
In college, Williams also become involved in a point shaving scandal while at Tulane University and was charged with five offenses related to the scandal. He went through two trails - the first was dismissed due to a lack of evidence and he was acquitted in the second - and the trail caused his NBA career to be delayed. Gordon Gund, who owned the Cavs when Williams was drafted in 1985, paid his legal bills and Williams spent a year playing in the United States Basketball League.
For this career, Williams averaged 11 points and 6.8 rebound per game.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst confirmed Williams' death with Mark Bertelstein, Williams' longtime agent.
Update - 2:45 p.m.
The Cavs have released a statement in Williams' passing.
RIP "Hot Rod"... #CavsStatement pic.twitter.com/xoHxPM2sd9— Allie Clifton (@FSOAllieOop) December 11, 2015
Remembering the late, great John Williams & his time in #TheLand: https://t.co/PT7Tr4OEdI #RIPHotRod pic.twitter.com/UBw26Pe2ww— Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) December 11, 2015