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."