Former Cleveland Cavaliers, center John “Hot Rod” Williams died Friday from cancer, according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst.
According to Williams’ agent Mark Bartelstein, Williams, 53, had been in the intensive care unit of a hospital near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as recently as Wednesday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Terry Pluto noted Williams was diagnosed six months ago before the cancer spread aggressively.
The Cavs released the following statement in regards to Williams death:
“The entire Cavaliers family is deeply saddened with the news of John “Hot Rod” Williams’ passing. Hot Rod was, first and foremost, a great teammate, and also the kind of dependable person and player that made the Cavaliers organization proud during his almost decade-long time with the team. Hot Rod was the guy that willingly and pridefully drew the toughest defensive assignment. He was the kind of talented, unselfish and versatile player and person that earned the respect of everyone around him, including his teammates and opponents, and those who knew and worked with him off the court as well. In many respects, he was the humble embodiment and unsung hero of one of the most memorable and successful eras of Cavaliers basketball. Hot Rod will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Williams was a second-round pick in the 1985 NBA draft from Tulane. As a rookie, Williams averaged 14.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks and was named a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.
Williams averaged double digits in the nine seasons with Cleveland. He ranks third in Cavaliers history with 20,802 minutes played, second in offensive rebounds (1,620), second in blocks (1,200) and seventh in points (8,504) according to Basketball-Reference.com.
The Cavaliers traded Williams to Phoenix in exchange for Antonio Lang, Dan Majerle and a 1997 first-round pick that turned out to be Brevin Knight. He played three seasons with the Suns before wrapping his career up after one year in Dallas.