Sports

Ray Williams, ex-Celtics guard, dead at 58

FILE- In this Oct. 25, 1977 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Walt Frazier, left, and New York Knicks' Ray Williams vie for the ball during the second half of an NBA basketball game at New York's Madison Square Garden. Williams, the former Knicks guard who averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 assists in 10 seasons in the NBA, died Friday, March 22, 2013. He was 58. (AP Photo/File)
In this Oct. 25, 1977 file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' Walt Frazier, left, and then-New York Knicks' Ray Williams vied for the ball at Madison Square Garden. (AP)Credit: AP

Ray Williams, who reached the NBA Finals in 1985 with the Celtics, died Friday in a New York City hospice, according to his wife, Linda. He suffered a stroke Wednesday while undergoing treatment for late-stage colon cancer.

Williams, 58, an 10-year NBA veteran, led the New York Knicks in scoring over the first four years of his pro career after starring at the University of Minnesota with Kevin McHale, Mychal Thompson, and Flip Saunders.

His teammates on the 1984-85 Celtics included McHale, Larry Bird, and Robert Parish.

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Williams, who averaged 15.5 points and 5.8 assists in his NBA career, fell on hard times later in life and was homeless in 2010 when the Globe wrote about his plight. With help from McHale and Bird, he regained his financial footing and married Linda Crawford.

Williams was living in Florida before the Knicks paid for a jet to transport him last month to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

A funeral will be scheduled in Mount Vernon, N.Y., where he grew up with his brother, Gus Williams, an NBA All-Star in the early ’80s.

BOB HOHLER

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