Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Memories

To all from Fly Williams: Happy Thanksgiving, 2008.
Fly spent much of Thursday afternoon visiting friends in Brooklyn for Thanksgiving, but he didn't forget to say hello to his old friends and fans down in the South.
"Tell everybody down there Happy Thanksgiving," Fly said. "Tell everybody I'm looking forward to seeing them."
Fly will be in Clarksville in early February for games against UT-Martin and Murray State. His jersey will be retired by Austin Peay the day of the UT-Martin game.
What is Fly's most memorable Thanksgiving from his days at Austin Peay?
"I went turkey hunting," Fly said. "I didn't hit nothin' but a tree. I'd shot little zip guns before, but never a big ol' shotgun like that. It was like, 'Kaboom! Kaboom!' "Fly recalls going turkey hunting with a man named Sammy Thomas

Friday, October 31, 2008

Kobe Bryant and Raymond Lewis

Fly was having a conversation a couple of days ago on the phone with Joe Bryant, father of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant.
Their conversation went something like this:
"I know of two guys who could get off whenever and wherever they wanted to," Joe Bryant said.
"Who's that?" Fly said.
"You and my son Kobe," Joe Bryant said.
"Thank you, sir," Fly said.

Fly was asked again about playing against Raymond Lewis in Los Angeles.
"He was a terrific ballhandler and he had a good shot," Fly said. "I can't compare him to me. He was a decent player. If he had the right opportunity, he might have had a shot. Back then, it was just if you had the opportune time to get a shot."

Hall of Fame

It was a big Friday night in Brooklyn for Fly Williams and friends.
Fly was among four players inducted in the Brooklyn Athletic Association USA Hall of Fame. Also inducted were former NBA players Mel Davis, Greg "Jocko" Jackson and Kenny Hall.
Jackson and Fly have been close friends for many years.
"My phone's been ringing off the hook today," Fly said. "Everybody's gonna be there tonight."
Earlier in the day, Fly was among the many people working at the Brownsville Recreation Center to get a haunted house ready for Halloween night.
"It's awesome," Fly said. "We've got kids comin' from all around."
Fly is also amid his tournament/clinics for 14 to 16-year olds at the rec center.
"There's more than 3,000 kids in the program," Fly said. "I don't like to turn any kids away. I might have to start going on Sunday (with the tournament). I've got kids coming from every borough in Brooklyn. I've got one white kid coming from Troy, New York, and that's probably three hours away."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Freddie "Sugar Tree" Lee

Fly and Fred Lee were talking about old times on the telephone Sunday (Oct. 26). Fly was at home in Brownsville; Fred was in Long Island.
"We've been crackin' up the last 30 minutes," Fly said minutes later. "He knows everything that happened back then. Fred's got a great memory."
Indeed he does, the man they called Freddie "Sugar Tree" Lee back in the day.
Lee, who grew up playing with and against Fly in Brooklyn in the 1960s, recalls the many games they played on the playgrounds and gyms and their season together at Glen Springs Academy in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (1971-72). Fly signed with Austin Peay after that season, while Lee played another season at Glen Springs before joining Fly at Austin Peay in 1973-74. Glen Springs was helping many of the top players out of Brooklyn and New York hone their skills while becoming academically eligible to play NCAA Division I ball.
"We were the best players coming out of New York in that era," Lee said Sunday (Oct. 26). "Some of our grades were low, so we went to Glen Springs Academy to bring up our grades and our SAT scores."
Lee, 54, who splits time living between Brooklyn and Long Island, wonders why Fly's jersey hasn't been retired (see "columns" on this web site).
"If it wasn't for Fly, Austin Peay wouldn't ever have been on the map throughout the country," Lee said. "That center (Austin Peay's Dunn Center) was supposed to have been built for Fly, but he left. That's the stadium Fly built. He was hoping to be there for four years, but he couldn't stay."
For more info and comments from Fred Lee, check out in the next day or two.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From the Sports Illustrated Vault

FROM: SI Vault, a CNN Network Site.
A major focus in Rick Telander's recent article on playground basketball (They Always Go Home Again, Nov. 12) was Brooklyn's Rodney Parker and his two finds: Austin Peay's great soph, Fly Williams, and Anthony Harris. The prep school that Harris mentioned in the story was Glen Springs Academy in upstate Watkins Glen, N.Y. In the past two years Glen Springs has graduated all senior members of its basketball teams to college with full scholarships. Williams and Harris were among those 15 members.
Rodney Parker sent many of those young men to Glen Springs. Once they are here the academy staff works long, hard hours to prepare them both academically and socially for this country's Austin Peays, Creightons, Arizona States, Eastern Michigans, University of Buffalos, Elmira Colleges and others. The real direction for the youth begins at the academy, which caters to under-achievers from many different backgrounds.
Mr. Telander and I know of the hundreds of young men in playgrounds such as "The Hole" who have real ability but never graduate from the large city schools, and thus never leave the ghetto. The rural atmosphere of the academy, plus individual attention to each student, provides a new forum for learning. A real story goes on every day at Glen Springs. The story continues throughout the year.

Assistant Headmaster
Glen Springs Academy
Watkins Glen, N.Y.

Friday, October 17, 2008

NYSSWA All-State Team

Fly hasn't forgotten playing against the best hoop stars during the 1971-72 prep season when he played for Glen Springs Academy (Watkins Glen, N.Y.) and was selected to the NYSSWA all-state team first team.
Fly was listed as Jimmy "Fly" Williams on the all-state team.
Here's Fly's take on the other four first-team players:
On Frank Alagia, sr., Rockville Centre St. Agnes: "He was a big guy. He was tough."
On Luther "Ticky" Burden, sr., Albany Schuyler: "He was pretty good. I think he played with the Knickerbockers. He went to jail."
On Terry Chili, sr. Jamestown. "He played the three."
On Earl "Bill" Tatum, sr., Mt. Vernon: "Bill Tatum was a big guy. He was about 6-8, 235-240 pounds. He was a monster. He could score and rebound. He was a beast."
On Jimmy "Fly" Williams, sr., Glen Springs Academy: "I used to kill 'em all."

Freddie Lee was on the NYSSWA all-state team in 1972-73 while playing for Glen Springs after Fly had left for Austin Peay. Lee joined Fly at Austin Peay the next year.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Slam Magazine & Shamrocks

Word is out that there's a photo of Fly in a Slam magazine that's on the market.
"Everybody's calling me about it," Fly said Oct. 1. "They've got me dunking the ball or something in The Hole."
The Hole is near Fly's home in Brooklyn, N.Y., and it was a proving ground for rising street-ball players.
It was there that one of Fly's best playground teams, the Shamrocks, were at their best. Fly heard the photo in Slam is from his Shamrock days.
"I've got my Shamrock shirt on," Fly said he's been told. "I was playing for the Shamrocks."
So they were pretty good?
"We were just a pick-up team. A guy put the team together," Fly said. "Man, we went undefeated in that league. We tore everybody up."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Raymond Lewis

So, Fly, what do you recall about your days in Los Angeles circa 1980 playing against LA street-ball legend Raymond Lewis?
"I ate him like Pac Man," Fly said Sept. 24, 2008.
Say what? Lewis, who averaged 32.9 points per game for Cal State-Los Angeles in 1972-73, became a legend on the L.A. blacktop after his college days.
How good was he? According to the web site,, he was pretty good. "He took on the 30 best street ballers in a single day, and he wiped the floor with them winning all 30 games," according to the web site. "But what made him so great was the way he could destroy NBA pros just as he destroyed every street baller on the blacktop."
Perhaps they forgot about Raymond vs. Fly, who made several trips from New York City to Los Angeles to play street ball.
"I remember playing against him," Fly said. "He was supposed to be one of the top street-ball players out there. Me myself, I was the baddest man on the planet."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Love of Fly's life

Fly will never forget Paulette Suggs, his faithful girlfriend at Austin Peay.
But Fly now has the love of his life, and he plans to be married in the next year or so.
Fly says he and Lezette Kelley, who works in Manhattan, N.Y., for the U.S. Postal Service, are the next-best-thing to being happily married. The two have been together for years.
"The love of my life," Fly says of Kelley. "Couldn't be any finer."
Nor could his memories of basketball and life at Austin Peay, where Fly met Suggs during his freshman year when he led the Govs into the NCAA Tournament.
"She was from Clarksville," Fly recalls. "I think she was homecoming queen my freshman year."
Suggs now lives near Atlanta and has been successful in the business world. Fly says he has talked to her in recent years, and he will never forget her good looks.
"She was kind of short, and her shape was outrageous," Fly says. "She was the prettiest girl on campus."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Seven-City Classic

Fly was a 17-year-old playing for Glenn Springs Academy when he got a phone call from a representative from Coca-Cola.
“Fly, you’ve been chosen to play in the Seven-City Classic,” the voice said. “You’re our pick from New York.”
“Great, where is it? Fly said.
“Los Angeles. We’ll have someone meet you in New York City, take you to the airport, and you’ll fly out here.”
“Cool,” Fly said. “I’ll be ready.”
Fly recalls playing on a team loaded with one player chosen from seven cities on the East Coast, and his East team playing against a team of players selected from cities on the West Coast.
Also on Fly’s team were Galen Baker of Philadelphia, Adrian Dantley of Detroit, and Skip Wise of Baltimore.
“We had a monster team” Fly recalls. “We went out there and destroyed the West team.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Annie Ruth Williams

It has been a little more than a year since Fly's mother, Annie Ruth Williams, passed away in New York City. She was 91.
Fly will never forget her.
"She was a great person," Fly said August 5. "My mother was more popular than me, to tell the truth."
Annie Ruth Williams was known for her volunteer work and helping others in any way possible. Fly says she was the most giving person he ever knew.
"The way I volunteer today," Fly said, "that's the way my mother did it all her life."
Fly says her funeral and memorial service last August was like a party with more than 2,000 people attending on a blocked-off street.
"We had to get a truck club to block the exits of the street," Fly said. "There must have been 30 truc ks that blocked up the street, and the motorcade, forget it. It was at least 10 to 14 New York City blocks long. They didn't come for me. They came for her."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Willie Randolph Sports Experience

July 10, 2008.

It's 7 a.m. in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, N.Y.
Fly Williams is a supervisor at the Willie Randolph Sports Experience. The program, started by former Major League baseball player Willie Randolph, runs for nine weeks, and Fly works it every day until 5 p.m. when he returns to his home in Brownsville.
"I grew up with Willie," Fly says. "He knows all of us."
Fly has taken time off from his regular job -- working with youth at the Brownsville Rec Center -- to help Randolph with his program.
"I just enjoy the kids, you know," Fly says. "I'm not in my neighborhood."
Fly must have been a hit in East Flatbush.
"The first day I was here, they had about 75 kids," Fly says. "Now they're in the second week, and I've got 160 kids already."

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