There was no missed flight or overslept conference call this time around.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens made things explicitly clear when rookie Robert Williams was a last-minute scratch from Thursday’s G-League assignment with the Maine Red Claws: “He’s excused. He is excused. He’s excused by all of us to attend to a personal matter.” The reasoning behind the absence briefly remained a mystery, but even the stoic coach couldn’t wipe a suspicious grin off of his face.
So where had Williams gone?
An Instagram post later night explained everything.
Williams had flown back to Texas, where he attended college, for the birth of his baby girl, Ava. The 6-foot-10 center said he had wrapped up morning shootaround in Maine when he received the news. He opted to stay in Texas for the weekend, also missing the Red Claws’ game Saturday before getting recalled to the Celtics.
“She looks just like me,” Williams, a first-time father, said before the Celtics-Pelicans game at TD Garden Monday. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing.”
The 21-year-old joins the growing group of Celtics dads, which includes Aron Baynes, Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving, Marcus Morris, Terry Rozier, Jayson Tatum, Daniel Theis, and Brad Wanamaker. Williams’s daughter coincidentally shares the same birthday as Tatum’s son, who received a celebratory shoutout on the center-court video board Thursday.