Monty Williams deserves all the praise.
The Phoenix Suns head coach has taken a perennial bottom feeder to the NBA Finals for the first time in 28 years. It should come as little surprise that the Suns are now Western Conference champs after going on a tear last season in the NBA Bubble during the coronavirus pandemic. With stars like Chris Paul and Devin Booker, they’re legit.
Williams has certainly found a home in Phoenix. Even after tragedy struck his family.
Monty Williams’ Wife Ingrid Williams
Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has been involved in the NBA in some capacity since 1994. He was a player for the New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers.
After his playing career, he moved to the bench where he went from forward Monty Williams to assistant coach Monty Williams. He served on the coaching staff of the Portland Trail Blazers for five years before being hired as the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets, who later became the New Orleans Pelicans.
Five seasons later, Williams moved out of the Big Easy to Oklahoma City, where he was an assistant coach under then-Oklahoma City Thunder head man Billy Donovan.
During his one season in OKC, Ingrid was tragically killed in a car crash when a driver crossed lanes and hit her in a head-on collision. The other driver also died. So did her dog, who was riding in her lap at the time. Ingrid was just 44.
News outlets from the Associated Press to The Oklahoman covered the heartbreaking event.
The Thunder issued a statement after the car accident.
“The Thunder organization has heavy hearts tonight with the news of Ingrid’s passing,” the statement read. “Words cannot adequately describe how deep our sorrow is for the loss of Monty’s wife. Our thoughts and prayers are with Monty and his family, and we will support him in every way possible. We know the entire community of Oklahoma City has them in their prayers.”
Monty Williams’ Powerful Speech at Ingrid’s Funeral
After Ingrid’s death and lone season in Oklahoma, Williams became the vice president of basketball operations for the San Antonio Spurs, where he worked closely with head coach Gregg Popovich. He also served on the coaching staff for the USA Basketball team under Mike Krzyzewski for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
The former Pelicans coach and Notre Dame grad took the head coaching job for the Suns in 2019. The team improved in his first season, and they got even better when they traded for Chris Paul last offseason.
Paul was one of the people who was right there to offer support after his wife’s passing back in 2016.
?Chris has meant so much to my career, so much to my life,? Williams told the media. ?I?ve shared it with a few people, but the darkest moment of my life, Chris was right there. And one of the highlights of my career, he?s right there. So I?m just grateful to God for him. And all of our guys.?
The Suns look like the favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy after their performance so far in the NBA playoffs. First, they took down the defending-champion Los Angeles Lakers. Then, they swept NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. Finally, they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference Finals on ESPN.
Williams faced an unimaginable tragedy. His perseverance is reflected in his team.
Next stop: the NBA Finals.