Summer 2024

Former NBA Head Coach Gives Powerful Speech at Awards Ceremony

Monty Williams played nine NBA seasons from 1994-2003 and is a former NBA head coach with the New Orleans Hornets, as well as an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers and Oklahoma City Thunder. Williams is also a man of faith and his trust in Jesus Christ as his savior is what guides and leads him each and every day.

In 2016, Williams and his family went through a devastating tragedy, when on February 10, 2016, Williams’ wife, Ingrid, died from injuries sustained from a car crash in Oklahoma City after her car was struck head-on by a vehicle that crossed lanes after losing control.

At the funeral, Williams was incredibly poised and shared how important his faith in Jesus was in sustaining him and his family during the grieving process and allowing him and his family to offer forgiveness.

“Life is hard. It is very hard. And that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family, and we as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family because they grieve as well. So let’s not lose sight of what’s important.”

On Monday, Williams was the recipient of the inaugural Sager Strong Award honoring the late NBA announcer Craig Sager. In his acceptance speech, Williams once again, made his faith a priority in receiving this award.

“The good lord and his sovereignty has trusted me and my family with our situation,” Williams said with his five children in attendance. “I’m mindful of that. I’m mindful of all the blessings He’s given me. For 2o-plus years I’ve had the NBA family to support me, criticize me, make me a better man.

Williams is currently working as Vice President of Basketball Operations with the San Antonio Spurs, but it’s his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, that Monty wanted to acknowledge first during his speech in New York City.

“Oklahoma City. You guys are here tonight. What happened in your city was not your fault,” Williams said. “I couldn’t be here and do what I had to do if it wasn’t for you guys. I’m so thankful for the latitude that you gave me to be able to leave work and take care of my family. I couldn’t do it without you.”

In closing his speech, Monty made sure he thanked the most important people in his life, his five children.

“I want you to know that you’re not a job,” Williams said to his children during the speech. “I am honored to take care of you. The Bible says that you are a blessing and you have been. The reason I get up and do what I do is because of you all.”