Former NBA Big Man, John “Hot Rod” Williams, Dies At 53

john-hot-rod-williamsFormer Cleveland Cavaliers, Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks center John “Hot Rod” Williams died on December 11, 2015 from cancer. Williams was regarded as one of the leagues best all-time sixth man.

Williams, 53, had been in the intensive care unit of a hospital near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, as recently as Wednesday after being diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly six months ago.

Typically, prostate cancer is a slow-growing cancer that does not progress outside of the prostate gland before the time of diagnosis. However, sometimes it will grow quickly and spread to nearby lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are small, pea-sized pieces of tissue that filter and clean lymph, a clear liquid waste product. If prostate cancer has spread to your lymph nodes when it is diagnosed, it means that there is higher chance that it has spread to other areas of the body as well. If and when prostate cancer cells gain access to the bloodstream, they can deposit in various bones throughout the body, at which point the prostate cancer is said to have metastasized to the bones. This can occur if one has a variant of prostate cancer that is not slow-growing, but rather faster-growing and more aggressive in its behavior.

MUST READ: Why Prostate Cancer Screenings and Early Detection Are NOT the Same Thing

The team where he spent the majority of his basketball years, The Cavaliers, released a statement honoring Williams:

john-williams“The entire Cavaliers family is deeply saddened with the news of John “Hot Rod” Williams’ passing. Hot Rod was, first and foremost, a great teammate, and also the kind of dependable person and player that made the Cavaliers organization proud during his almost decade-long time with the team. Hot Rod was the guy that willingly and pridefully drew the toughest defensive assignment. He was the kind of talented, unselfish and versatile player and person that earned the respect of everyone around him, including his teammates and opponents, and those who knew and worked with him off the court as well. In many respects, he was the humble embodiment and unsung hero of one of the most memorable and successful eras of Cavaliers basketball.”

Hot Rod will be greatly missed and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

“It’s devastating,” former Cavaliers general manager Wayne Embry said, per Windhorst. “He was a hard worker and a great player, but I liked him more as a person than a basketball player.”

A second-round pick in the 1985 NBA draft, Williams wasted no time and started producing for the team early on in his career. As a rookie, Williams averaged 14.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks en route to being named a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team.

Williams played nine seasons in Cleveland, and he averaged double figures in the scoring column in each one. But,…