You can’t choose family. Those are the people that God puts around you, to help you and to guide you. That’s why family means everything to me; family can’t be replaced. And so I’m heartbroken right now because Monty and Ingrid Williams are like a second family to me.
New Orleans is a long way from Chicago. As a 19 year old just coming into the league — living away from home in a new city, taking on the challenge of being a pro — being that far away from my support system was hard. My parents, my sisters, they would come to visit me as much as they could, of course. But even then, the team was on the road so much, different cities all the time, different people all the time, everybody wanting a little piece of you, trying to tell you about some deal they had for you. It could be really difficult.
That’s why I was blessed, really blessed, to have Monty Williams as my coach. The type of person he is, he cared about me and every member of our team more as human beings than as basketball players. And Ingrid was the same way. They opened their hearts to me. They really became like another set of parents. Anything I needed, if I needed to talk, whatever, they were there. I can’t tell you what that meant to me.
I keep thinking about how, before every home game, as soon as Monty came out on the floor, he would look up in the stands to where Ingrid and the kids were sitting and finding them there, he’d smile and wave to them. Before every single game. My prayers and my heart are with the Williams family. Because they are like my second family.
[Source: Medium/The Cycle]