It’s often when we’re at our lowest that we’re reminded of how loved we are. Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams lost his wife in a car accident, and the outpouring of grief that’s followed has shown just how revered he is around the NBA.
Somehow, Williams’ players on both the Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans, who he coached up until this season, will have to play each other on Thursday night, when Williams will be conspicuously absent as he grieves for his wife. Every player and coach at Chesapeake Arena will be thinking of Monty and Ingrid, and what they each meant to everybody. Thunder head coach Billy Donovan knows how hard it will be:
Perhaps no one in the building will be more affected than Ryan Anderson, the Pelicans forward who Ingrid and Monty supported so fervently after his girlfriend committed suicide. It’s the most profound example of the Williams’ kindness, but far from the only one. Sharing the bench with Anderson will be Williams’ replacement in New Orleans, Alvin Gentry, who couldn’t find the words to express his grief:
Even if Monty and Ingrid Williams had never left an impression on the Pelicans and the rest of the league, you wouldn’t ever have to leave the bench that Monty has patrolled this season to find people who knew and loved Ingrid. Kevin Durant wasn’t able to hold back tears when asked about it on Thursday:
Thunder guard Anthony Morrow also has his reasons for showing his love for Monty.
If anything can be a small consolation in such a dark time, it might be that with the All-Star break coming up, the NBA community will be afforded time and space to grieve for a woman who will be truly missed, and for the family she left behind.