The following article can be found in Dime 35, on newsstands now…
Now that summer is pretty much a wrap, we can officially start the countdown to the start of NBA training camps. Every single year, there are all sorts of guys in those NBA camps battling to realize their dream of making an NBA roster. Recently, one of the guys who’s been agonizingly close to making a roster has been New York City playground legend (and former Bounce cover guy), Corey “Homicide” Williams.
While Homicide’s rep as a basketball talent is golden on the streets of New York, across Europe and in the CBA, the NBA seems to be getting further and further away. Now Homicide is 30 years old and looking to make a final run at sticking in the L. Here, Homicide tells NBA GMs why they should sign him…
I believe you should sign me because I am a hard worker. I pride myself on my hard work; I just got out of the gym. I am the first to come to the gym and the last to leave. I practice five to six times a week. I usually work out early morning with a partner, getting at least 500 jumpers up. I work on my mid-range jumper, one- and two-dribble pull-ups and stationary shooting. I have a passion for the game. I love to play basketball. I take a professional approach to this game.
I believe there’s nothing more that I can show or prove on the level that I’m on. I’ve done it all on the amateur level. I’ve dominated everywhere I have played. I’ve played in Brazil, Sweden, Germany, France, Israel. I’ve also played in summer leagues in Italy and Spain. I played in the CBA and dominated. My first year I led the league in assists with 9.8 a game to go with 14 points and about six rebounds. My second year we won the championship, and I put up numbers; I had a game where I put up 33 points, 21 assists, eight rebounds and five steals against Randy Livingston’s team. There’s a difference who you drop buckets against; I’ve done it in marquee matchups.
I’ve dominated the playground scene in NYC. I’ve gone against a lot of tough guards and have always come out on top. And if I haven’t gotten them yet, believe me, I will. I have a list. I played against Ron Artest at the EBC and had 26 points. This was the year he won NBA Defensive Player of the Year. There were other defenders stepping over to help out â€“ it was the toughest 26 I ever had, but it’s still 26. That game helped me a lot mentally and let me know that I can play at the highest level. Put it like this: I played against Allan Ray and I worked him out. He was killing my team until I got there, and by halftime I had him with five fouls and he got dressed and left the game, claiming the refs weren’t calling the game fair.
I’ve been in camps with the Denver Nuggets and the Toronto Raptors. Those teams liked me for the defensive intensity that I bring; I pick up full-court and I play in-your-face D. I was the last cut with the Raptors after I beat out two guards that already had NBA experience. I only got cut because veteran guard Alvin Williams was healthy enough to play that season.
I have good court leadership. I can get to the basket almost at will. If I’m on an NBA roster obviously I’ll be a role player, but I believe that I can push everyone in practice. I won’t be content with just being on the bench. I want to play.
One of the things that some GMs might shy away from is my age. I assure you that will not be a problem. I work hard in the gym and I take care of my body. I am very durable and not injury-prone. There have been a lot of guys that have come into the League late in their careers and have been successful: Mario Elie, Darrell Armstrong, the list goes on. Those are the guys that inspire me and let me know that I can make it in this league.
The one part of my game that I feel I need to improve on is the pro three-pointer. Once I begin to hit that consistently, I’ll be an even tougher matchup. I dominate games just taking it to the basket. I always get to the basket at will, so sometimes I tell myself, “Why pull up for the jumper when they can’t stop you from getting to the basket?” I need to start pulling up for that three-pointer. When I get that, it’s over.
That’s why I deserve a shot.
As told to Kyle Henry