Grizzlies mourn passing of assistant GM
Memphis, TN-The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that Assistant General Manager Kenny Williamson has passed away. Williamson, who had been battling advanced cancer, was 65 years old.
Williamson, a respected and well-connected member of the basketball community with over 30 years of basketball experience, had just entered his sixth season with the Grizzlies serving as Assistant General Manager. Known affectionately in basketball circles as “Eggman,” Williamson previously served three seasons with the Charlotte Bobcats, leading the club’s scouting of college and high school prospects while assisting with the team’s international scouting efforts.
Williamson worked six seasons (1997-03) as a scout for the New York Knicks before joining the Bobcats and aiding the team’s preparations for the 2004 Expansion Draft and NBA Draft. Prior to the Knicks, he spent 21 years as an assistant coach in the collegiate ranks, including stints with legends Lou Carnesecca, Denny Crum and Jim Valvano. Williamson served as an assistant coach at St. John’s, Seton Hall, Columbia and Louisville and was associate head coach at Iona and Florida State under Pat Kennedy. During his college coaching tenure, he worked with numerous future NBA players including Sam Cassell, Doug Edwards, Pervis Ellison, Adrian Griffin, George Johnson, Jeff Ruland, Felton Spencer, Bob Sura, Irving Thomas and Charlie Ward.
A native of Harlem, N.Y., he was a well-known fixture at historic Rucker Park in Harlem and was featured in the television basketball documentary “Hallowed Ground,” as well as an NBA-produced film on the Entertainers Basketball Classic in Rucker Park. The graduate of City College of New York is survived by his wife, Nicole, as well as five children and four grandchildren. The Grizzlies will announce plans to honor Williamson in the upcoming 2012-13 season and funeral arrangements at a later date.
The team has issued the following statements on behalf of the team’s ownership, CEO Jason Levien, General Manager Chris Wallace and longtime friend and colleague, Director of Player Personnel Tony Barone, Sr. on the passing of Williamson:
“On behalf of the Grizzlies organization, I want to express our sincere condolences to the entire Williamson family, especially his wife Nicole, his five children and four grandchildren. Kenny and his vibrant personality touched so many people throughout his years in the basketball community and each and every one of us will miss him dearly. Not only was Kenny a great basketball mind, anyone who knew him knows he was a devoted family man, a trusted colleague and an outstanding friend to all.” – Memphis Grizzlies CEO and Managing Partner Jason Levien
“Anyone who ever met ‘Eggman’ will never forget him. He had a huge personality and was extremely well respected, both professionally and personally. Kenny was as true and committed a friend as one will ever have. He deeply cared for his friends and the youth of Memphis and of every community he touched. He was the greatest people person I have ever known. Every place I ever traveled with him, from Argentina to Turkey and throughout the U. S. he made an indelible impression and made countless friends. He was well known is all basketball circles, both domestically and internationally, and his presence will be sorely missed. – Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace
“The business that we are in is a very stressful and difficult business and one thing that I knew for a fact was that every day that I came into the office with Kenny, my day was going to be a better day. He was a caring person who thought more about other people than he thought about himself.” – Longtime friend and Memphis Grizzlies Director of Player Personnel Tony Barone, Sr.