After Ray Williams retired from the NBA in 1987, he found himself in some trouble. He made some bad investments and eventually went into bankruptcy. At 40, he received his $200,000 NBA pension and immediately lost it in a real estate scam. After working a bunch of odd jobs, he then found himself homeless, bouncing around from shelter, to park bench, to abandon car. Williams made money by fishing. He would eat what he caught and sell the rest. The former star player took the NBA to task about their retirement program saying:
“I’m not motivated by anger or revenge,’’ Williams said. “I just believe there’s a better way. Why should guys who are hurting have to wait until they’re on their dying bed before they get the help they need?’’
Eventually his former teammates Larry Bird and Kevin McHale gave him money and the mayor of Mt. Vernon, his hometown, gave him a job. But after getting his colon screened, a tumor was found and he was hospitalized. Knicks owner James Dolan paid for his treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center where Williams died today from complications. He was 58.