The New York Times published a fantastic profile of former Duke star and Bulls bust Jay Williams, chronicling his career in basketball and beyond. A terrific read, especially for one anecdote by Williams about some of his Chicago teammates and their less-than-professional behavior during games.
What am I saying? More like what is JAY WILLIAMS saying. Get the scoop, straight from the horse’s mouth:
[Wiliams] went from regimented Duke, with every day planned to the minute, into a looser environment, with millions of dollars in his bank account and more free time than hobbies with which to fill it.
“I didn’t know how to handle it at first,” Williams said. “I didn’t know how to be around it. Guys were on the bench, trying to kick it to girls in the stands, having ball boys run over. I mean, some guys were high.”
Asked to clarify, Williams said: “There were guys smoking weed before games. Guys asking in the middle of the game, ‘Do you smell popcorn?’ ”
He noticed the nervous laughter around the kitchen table. “You think I’m playing,” Williams said. “Can you imagine! Guys are gambling. They’re playing dice in the back of the plane for money. Like, we just lost by 30 tonight! And we’ve got a game tomorrow! It bugged me out.”
Williams’ lone season in the NBA was with the 2002-03 Chicago Bulls. Coached by Bill Cartwright, the Bulls went 30-52 that season, their first 30+ win season since winning the title in 1998.
But we aren’t here to talk about that. We want to know who on that team was getting high before games.
Here’s the roster from the horrible-bordering-on-mediocre team:
So many candidates immediately come to mind, but one player makes the most sense to me: Marcus Fizer.
Fizer played just 38 games that season due to injury, leaving plenty of time for getting stoned before games and looking for popcorn and girls during games. His game also completely dropped off after that year, going from 11.7 points and 5.7 rebounds on .465 shooting in 21.3 minutes in ’02-’03, to 7.8 points and 4.4 rebounds on .383 shooting in 16 minutes in ’03-’04 (in just 46 games), to two different teams in the next two seasons, to out of the NBA at 27.
Okay, maybe I’m being too hard on Fizer. There are plenty of other obvious choices for guys who got high during games on that Bulls team, including Blount, Crawford, Curry, Marshall, and Robinson, but only Fizer was out of the league for reasons other than age/injury. If nothing else, that is an outlier.
What do you think? Does Fizer fit the bill? Or was another Bull getting high and hungry for popcorn?