Mo Williams sits within the entrance row of Jackson State’s Lee E. Williams Athletics and Meeting middle in a navy blue sweatsuit together with his hat turned backward. It is a spot he is each acquainted and cozy with, having rising up right here in Jackson.
Twenty years after he left for Tuscaloosa to play school basketball at Alabama, Williams has returned as coach at Jackson State, the place his dad and mom met.
He’s identified for years that he needed to teach, as a result of it’s how he most well-liked to spend the offseason throughout his 14-year NBA profession.
As quickly because the season was over, he mentioned, he’d catch a flight to Dallas, the place he used to stay within the offseason. He needed to spend time within the fitness center teaching his sons. It was a manner he might guarantee he spent loads of time with them after the grind of an NBA season.
“Guys like myself within the NBA had been doing lots of issues like going to the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, wherever the case could also be, for trip,” Williams mentioned. “My trip was going dwelling and being within the fitness center. I did not take many holidays when the yr was over, so it was one thing that I genuinely loved. An important half was my youngsters beloved it.”
These experiences within the fitness center and on the AAU circuit sparked a love for teaching in Williams, who received an NBA title in 2016 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and was an NBA All-star in 2009. He spent two seasons as an assistant at Cal State Northridge and two seasons as head coach at Alabama State.
He is additionally a father of seven sons, whose ages vary from 6 months to 23 years outdated.
“I adore it. It is a blessing,” Williams mentioned. “I inform folks on a regular basis that I’ve seven boys and so they’re like ‘Oh, that is a blessing’. For me it’s. Having all boys which are going to hold your identify and ultimately begin their very own households. You simply know the Williams bloodline might be right here to remain for a very long time. “
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His oldest son, Kydarrius, desires of following in his footsteps as a university basketball coach and can be a part of his workers at JSU as a grad assistant after graduating from Alabama this summer time.
“I’ve been round basketball all my life, and with him being a coach and me getting a chance to study from him, that might be a giant a part of the journey,” Kydarrius Williams mentioned. “Not solely was he a job mannequin for me when he performed basketball, now as I attempt to grow to be a coach and begin my journey I get to see him begin his teaching journey from the start as nicely. It is like we’re on this collectively . “
As somebody who has been a father for greater than half of his life, Williams mentioned one of many largest issues he has discovered is learn how to recognize the little moments in life that he as soon as took as a right. He’s centered on instilling self-discipline in his boys and educating them as a lot as he can about life and basketball. However he additionally savors the moments after they can simply chill and have time.
“My youngsters are aggressive,” Williams mentioned. “However, man, hear. We have got the purpose within the yard. We’re on the market within the again, however we additionally do different issues, whether or not it is soccer or sitting down taking part in Uno. They play video video games and so they at all times wish to have a 2K event and beat me to sleep. We simply have time collectively. “
Williams strives to play a hands-on, protecting position in his sons lives as a result of that is what his dad did for him.
“My dad was an important a part of my profession,” Williams mentioned. “That is why I’m the way in which I’m with my boys, being an important half of their basketball profession. Nothing occurred with out my dad. No person might discuss me or for me if my dad wasn’t concerned. He at all times made positive I used to be in the fitting conditions. “
His father, Isaiah Williams, coached Little League baseball within the space for greater than twenty years. The elder Williams, who’s a JSU alum, says he started taking Williams to Jackson State soccer video games at age 6. He is elated that his son returned to Jackson to teach at JSU.
He instilled self-discipline and a powerful work ethic in his three sons via family chores.
“It was a part of what they needed to do. It was by no means a free experience. If you need it, you needed to go work for it. It will not be no reward to it, you may get it since you earned it , ”Isaiah Williams mentioned.
It carried over into sports activities, the place Williams set himself aside by waking up at 5 am to work out on the YMCA on Fortification Road. As he appears to make his mark in his first season as JSU’s basketball coach, Williams will educate that very same work ethic to his gamers.
“I do know the place I wish to be. I do know what I wish to accomplish,” Williams mentioned. “I do know it should take what I name extra time: you have to go over and past. That is the purpose I’ve set for myself to be nice in teaching and get these youngsters to grasp what it takes to be nice human beings and nice basketball gamers. “