Marvin Williams returns to Atlanta Friday as a member of the Jazz. The Hawks‘ first-round pick, No. 2 overall in 2005, was traded in the offseason after spending his first seven seasons in the organization. Although he won’t play due to inflammation in his right knee, Williams spoke to the AJC about the trade, his time in Atlanta and what kind of reception he might receive.
Q. What are your thoughts about coming back to Atlanta?
A. I’m really, really excited. A lot of those guys I haven’t seen or talked to since last season. Just to get a chance to get back to the city and see a lot of the people in the organization, see a lot of my friends, and I’m excited to get back there.
Q. It’s hard to keep in contact with people as an NBA player. You forge relationships and after such a transition you leave it all behind. Has that been hard?
A. It was difficult for me this summer to hear about the trade. You make friends with guys and you become close to people in the organization, people around the city. It’s like you are here today and gone tomorrow. With trades, I do understand the business. It happens in the NBA. I’ve seen guys come and go as well throughout my time in Atlanta. I know trades do happen and sometimes it ends up like that.
Q. Did the trade catch up by surprise?
A. I can’t necessarily say I was expecting it. I think anytime anybody is traded they are always surprised. It was just one of those things where I was working out and a couple of buddies of mine had told me they heard I got traded. During the summer time there are always rumors going around so I really didn’t pay too much attention. When I got done working out I had a couple voice mails from Rick Sund, my agent. I called Rick Sund back and he expressed to me that I may see it on TV or on Twitter but that I was going to be traded so he wanted to let me know firsthand. I greatly appreciated that. They did everything first class. They were awesome about the whole situation. When I got back to my house, I saw across the bottom of the (TV) screen that I got traded to Utah.
Q. It was Rick Sund who called you? Not Danny Ferry?
A. Actually Danny was on the line as well. I figured Rick reached out to me because he already knew me. I had never met Danny Ferry personally. I didn’t get a chance to speak to him when he got the job.
Q. What are your reflections about your time in Atlanta?
A. I had an absolute blast, man. Looking back on it since I have been gone, I had an absolute blast. The organization, the city, took care of me and watched me grow. You know I was 19 years old when I first got drafted and left when I was 26. I grew into a man before their eyes. As a basketball player, I became a better player each year. My memories of Atlanta I will never forget. I will be forever grateful to that organization for giving me an opportunity to live my dream.
Q. What kind of reaction to you think you might get from the crowd?
A. I don’t know. I guess I haven’t really thought too much about it, to be honest. I’ve always loved Atlanta fans. They’ve always come out and shown their support. They’ve always voiced their opinion. They’ve seen my good days. They’ve seen my bad days. I guess at the end of the day I hope they know that I really did appreciate playing for those guys.
Q. How disappointing is it to return but not get a chance to play?
A. Very, very, very. You get a chance to play against your old team and go back get a chance to play in front of some of the fans that liked you once again. I’ve been going through this knee thing for the last few weeks and it’s been tough. It’s disappointing that I won’t be able to play but at the end of the day I am a member of the Utah Jazz and I have to do what’s best for this organization.
Q. How is life in Utah? How is this new part of your career going?
A. I like it. When I first got traded to Utah my first thought was ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do in Utah.’ I had never spent much time there at all. We would fly in with Atlanta, get in at 1 or 2 in the morning, play the next night and leave. I never spent much time there. The people in Utah, the community, the fans, the people in the organization, everybody has been such a huge help. They’ve made me feel so comfortable since I touched down and I’m really enjoying it out there.
- Chris Vivlamore
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