Lou Williams entered the NBA in 2005 as a member of the last draft class that allowed high school players to jump straight to the League. Since then, he has experienced it all over the course of his six-year NBA career, including a three-game stint in the D-League at the beginning of his sophomore season. This year, the 6-1, 175-pound reserve guard for the Philadelphia 76ers is having one of his best seasons yet, averaging 13.7 points and 3.4 assists per game.
In the end, Lou Williams will always be defined by his accomplishments on the basketball court, but that hasn’t stopped him from building his personal brand away from the arena. When it comes to off-court endeavors, Williams is one of the more entrepreneurial-minded sports professionals out there. While he was in New York, we sat down with Lou to talk hoops, fashion, music and life outside of the game.
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Dime: Tell us more about your documentary, Peace of Mind, and how that came about. We see the first couple episodes are already on your YouTube channel.
Lou Williams: Basically I want to give people some insight on what’s going on with life outside of basketball. Usually when you see basketball players on TV, you see the superstars and you really don’t get to see what life is like for the mid-level guys. It was an opportunity for me to have some people that I grew up around follow me around with cameras and give you some insight on the many things I’m involved with.
Dime: What made you choose the episodic format as opposed to one long movie?
LW: Every episode is something different. We showed you about the music part of things, the community stuff that we do and also my daughter being born. Just a number of things that people wouldn’t get the opportunity to see. The reason why we’re doing episodes is because we figure we can do it forever like that.
Dime: What type of feedback have you gotten from it?
LW: For the most part, the feedback has been really positive. I’m really grateful and appreciative of that because at the same time, once you allow people on the inside, you always leave that door open for criticism.
Dime: We know you’re a Converse guy, but tell us a little about your clothing brand, Evol Rocx Clothing.
LW: It’s Evol, which is “love” spelled backwards, Rocx. Love rocks. We’ve been doing it for a year now. I have a few partners out of Florida and a few partners out of New York. We all merged together to create this clothing line. We’ve been doing very well. Right now, we’re starting off basic â€“ sweaters, t-shirts, skullies â€“ things like that. It’s just something to expand your portfolio.
Dime: How much are you involved with the designs and the marketing?
LW: It’s not something that I just put a bunch of money into and just sit back for a check. I sit in the meetings and we go over the different designs, colors, layouts and schemes that we want to do.
Dime: What’s your target audience for the brand, and where can we find it?
LW: 18-30 is probably our demographic as far as the products and things we’re promoting on the t-shirts. We’ve mainly been going viral, but now we’re starting to get into the boutique stores and expand the brand a little more. Right now, we’re on EvolRocx.com, and we’re still working on getting it in boutiques. There’s been a demand for the product, but we don’t have quite enough to put it in the stores.
Dime: Also in the documentary, we see you’re heavy in the music game. What role does music play in your life?
LW: Music is something that I’ve been doing for as long as I’ve been playing basketball. I think that started from just freestyling on the back of the team bus in high school. But at the end of the day, it’s just a hobby for me. It’s just something that takes up time. If you get to know me, you’ll see that I always keep myself busy; I’m always working on something. I just find things to block up time, and I think music has been doing that for me this past season.
Dime: Can we expect more videos like the “I’m A Boss” freestyle? That was pretty hot.
LW: (laughs) “I’m A Boss” was spur of the moment. We just got bored and I was playing music and they were like, “We should shoot it in the studio.” What happened is we put it on YouTube, and WorldStar ripped it off of YouTube, and that’s how that whole thing started.
Dime: Any mixtapes in the future?
LW: I have plenty of mixtapes. I don’t know about a mixtape for the public. (laughs) When you’re doing something that’s a hobby, you don’t want to be criticized for something you do for fun.
Dime: Talk about your relationship with Meek Mill.
LW: That’s a personal friend and partner of mine. We work together lot. We have like 15 or 20 songs together now. We’re just friends, so it’s natural for us when we’re in the studio. It’s two friends that do the same thing and continue to make music, and that’s what me and Meek do. I’ve been helping him with his jump shot too.
Dime: Who did you grow up listening to?
LW: I’ve always been a Lil Wayne fan. I liked Lil Wayne before he was “Lil Wayne.” Bone Thugs-n-Harmony was always playing around my house. Anything Southern â€“ Juvenile, 8Ball & MJG, Memphis stuff, Atlanta stuff.
Dime: Who are you listening to now?
LW: Right now I’m actually more into R&B stuff. A little Usher, Lloyd‘s new stuff. But I’m still on hip-hop. I listen to a lot of Meek Mill, of course. Drake is really dope. Wayne is really dope. I like a lot of the underground stuff that’s coming out of Atlanta. Waka Flocka, Travis Porter and Young Chris make good music as well.
Dime: As far as artists and producers, who else can we expect collaborations from?
LW: Anybody that reaches out to me, I’ll do it. I really haven’t been looking for any artists though. The only people we’ve really reached out to are producers. We’ve been looking for Lex Luger and Drumma Boy. Jahlil Beats is basically in-house for us. So not really a lot artists, but we’ve been reaching out to a bunch of producers.
Dime: You have all of these different business endeavors off the court. What needs to blow up first for the rest to fall inline?
LW: Basketball is always the focal point. This other stuff is always secondary. In order for you to have success in the music, the clothing and all of these different endeavors, your home base has to be solid. The more I further my NBA career, that will make all of this other stuff go.
Dime: What are some skills and things you’ve learned playing basketball that have helped you off the court in these different projects?
LW: Patience. I’ve learned patience with my career. I think I can relate to every step of the way â€“ from not playing to having success in the D-League â€“ I’ve experienced it all in my six-year NBA career. That’s taught me to have patience when interacting with other people outside of the basketball court.
Dime: You live your life out in the open on YouTube, but your Twitter is private. Any specific reason for that?
LW: Keeping out media. Plain and simple. I always try to keep my stuff personal with people that want to know more about me, but I don’t want to see my tweets on ESPN or other media outlets. We saw ya’ll on there, and we let ya’ll kick it because we figured ya’ll were cool enough to stay, but everybody else has to go.
Dime: In the beginning of the year, people were picking Evan Turner as a Rookie of the Year candidate, but he had a slower start than expected. What advice have you given him throughout the season?
LW: Just continue to work. Evan put a lot of pressure on himself to be successful, and that comes with the reputation of being a No. 2 pick and the National Player of the Year last year. He has good teammates around him, a lot of veteran guys, and we take good care of Evan. I think he’ll be just fine.
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