Whether you first saw him in the 2005 McDonald’s All-American game or his cameo appearance on Lil’ Bow Wow’s episode of MTV Cribs, Lou Williams hasn’t changed much since then. Twelve years and the 2014-15 Sixth Man of the Year award later, he’s still getting buckets and making music on his own.
Fresh off his 10th straight season averaging double figures, and putting up a career best 17.5 a night for the Lakers and Rockets, Williams placed third in this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year award behind Andre Iguodala and his Houston teammate and winner, Eric Gordon, at Monday’s NBA Awards.
But before that, Williams made an appearance at the Dew NBA 3X at Brooklyn Bridge Park this past weekend, an event showcasing the best 3-on-3 ballers in a tournament for a chance to win $2,000 and a trip to Los Angeles for the grand prize of $20,000 later this summer.
Williams has become a fan of the format, attending his second Dew NBA 3x in as many years. And while he was on site, Complex caught with him to talk 3-on-3 basketball, who is the NBA’s best rapper, his thoughts on the one-and-done rule, and rumors he might be on moving on from the Rockets.
(This interview has been edited and condensed.)
"If a guy is not serious about being a student-athlete then why force him into the college system. He’s not serious about getting education. I don’t know, I think the system can be worked out where it can benefit collegiate athletes and pros."
How’d you get involved with Dew NBA 3X?
I actually came out last year during the one in Atlanta. I had a lot of friends and guys I grew up with that were competing so I went down there to check them out. I was in New York City and they asked me to come and check it (this year’s event) out so I came.
Do you plan on making other appearances later this summer or next year possibly? Absolutely, I love the culture. I love coming out here. The sun is out and guys are competing. It’s 3-on-3 basketball and there’s a lot going on. I really like the environment so I’ll definitely come back in the future.
If you could pick two other guys in the league to play with for a 3-on-3 tournament like this, who would you pick?
Give me LeBron and give me James (Harden). Those would be the two guys who I want to play with.
You’re one of a few NBA players to have a rap career as well. In your honest opinion if you had a rap battle with Dame, Lonzo, Iman, and KD, Who wins?
I would say Shump because that’s Shump’s thing, but I probably make the best songs though. Freestyling and rap battles, I’ll go with Shump.
Would you ever do a collab with any of those guys?
I would like to collab with Dame. We’ve actually spoke about it a few times, we just haven’t linked up yet but I definitely want to do something with Dame.
Drake has a song focused on you (6 Man) and you’ve made a track with Meek Mill during your time in Philly so I have to ask this. During the Drake-Meek Mill beef, which side were you on?
It’s clear cut for me, Meek is my brother. Besides basketball, besides rap, besides any of that, that’s my brother. He comes to my house, I go to his house. My kids know his kids. I sleep on your couch, you sleep on my couch. That’s my real brother. We have a real relationship so when it came down to that, it really wasn’t about picking sides for me.
You made the jump from high school to the NBA. What do you think about the one-and-done rule?
I think it’s a stupid rule. If you look at the history of the NBA, guys that came out of high school are the guys that held the NBA together. You look a Kobe Bryant, you look at a LeBron, these are household names. These are the guys you say are two and three behind Michael Jordan. Kobe gave you 20 years of his life. Kevin Garnett gave you 20 years of his life. LeBron James is on his way to giving you 20 years of his life. These are hallmark guys that have ran this business for quite a long time and you miss out on a year of that guy if you send him to college. If a guy is not serious about being a student-athlete then why force him into the college system. He’s not serious about getting education. I don’t know, I think the system can be worked out where it can benefit collegiate athletes and pros.
Excluding all the rumors, what do you think the Houston Rockets need to do to dethrone the Warriors?
Well, they got to get better. It’s interesting because I see myself in a lot of trade rumors so I don’t know [Laughs]. We’ll see what happens this offseason.
Going off that, what are your thoughts on the era of competition we’re in where the league lacks parity and the fact we’re seeing three to four stars join forces?
At this point, you see Golden State win a championship so you kind of have a realistic measuring stick of where you need to be in order to compete for a championship and I think that’s what a lot of teams are trying to do this summer. They’re trying to put two or three superstar guys on the same team because you know realistically you have to match up with that (Golden State) and you have to give yourself an opportunity to win.
KD recently said that in terms of skill, Kyrie Irving is ahead of AI. You played with AI and against Kyrie, what are your thoughts on that?
What skill though? Which one? [Laughs] That’s what I want to know. I gotta see the whole quote, I’m sure he didn’t outright just say that but come on man. What AI was able to do at his size, with the teams that he had was remarkable, you can’t take that from him. You can’t take away Kyrie’s skill level as well but come on man, AI is a Hall of Famer right now, today and you can’t put somebody else in front of him.