Former NBA champion urges Taiwan basketballers to ‘get in shape’

Retired NBA player Jason Williams (right) during a visit to Taipei in 2013.(CNA)

TAIPEI (CNA) — Former NBA point guard Jason Williams on Monday encouraged basketball players in Taiwan to work on building their stamina so they can give their best in an upcoming 3-on-3 tournament in Taiwan.

In a press conference streamed live from Florida in the United States, Williams said 3-on-3 games are more physically demanding than 5-on-5 because of the running involved.

“With 5-on-5, there’re more people on the floor, and that creates less room to operate, whereas for 3-on-3, your one-on-one defense has to be really good because after one or two dribbles, people are going to be at the rim scoring,” said Williams, who played 12 seasons in the NBA between 1998 and 2011 as a point guard.

In 3-on-3 games, players need to be quick and agile to be able to play effective defense, because each team lacks two players, Williams said in the promotional live streamed press conference with Taiwan media.

“For the young hoopers over in Taiwan who are going to do the 3-on-3, you’d better get in shape and get ready to play,” he said, ahead of the Cathay NBA 3X 2020 tournament that will open July 4 in Taiwan.

Jason Williams during a live stream with media in Taiwan

Remembered as one of the greatest playmakers in the NBA, Williams was known for his behind-the-back and no-look passes during his long career, which included winning the NBA finals with the Miami Heat against the Dallas Mavericks in 2006.

He said the dream of every basketballer is to win a tournament, and he was no exception.

“In my opinion, as a player, that’s the only thing you play for, and that is to win a championship,” Williams said. “There were so many naysayers saying that I would never be a part of something like that, and to be able to achieve that goal was the most precious moment in my life, as pertaining to sports.”

In addition, he said, basketball has allowed him to travel all over the world and to learn how to interact with others, because it is not a one-on-one sport.

“Without basketball I wouldn’t be sitting here with you guys in Taiwan from over the other side of the world,” Williams said in the press conference from his home in the city of Orlando.

The Cathay NBA 3X 2020, held by the NBA Taiwan and sponsored by Cathay Financial Holdings, will tip off with the preliminaries July 4-5 in Taichung, July 18-19 in Taoyuan, July 25-26 in Taipei, and Aug. 2 in Kaohsiung.

The top 40 teams that emerge from the open and invitation only categories will face off in the finals, which will be held Aug. 22-23 in Taipei.

Registration for the competition’s open category started the second weekend of June and will close July 3.

Cathay Financial Holdings and the NBA have been partnering since 2011 to hold various basketball events and competitions in Taiwan.