Undeniably, the best basketball players in the world play in the NBA, and that’s why over the years, we’ve seen a couple of role players put on a remarkable performance now and then. One of them was former Toronto Raptors bruiser Jerome Williams.
Jerome is all about hustling
During his nine-year NBA career, Williams had always been a scrappy, physical combo forward who was ultimately a reliable rebounder and defender. However, he also stepped up on the offensive end occasionally, or in games where he really had to score.
For instance, when then-Raptors superstar Vince Carter was out sometime in 2002, and Toronto had to deal with a team who had a lethal scorer- Tracy McGrady and the Orlando Magic.
Junkyard Dog gets his revenge on T-Mac
According to Williams, that game against Orlando was “definitely a memorable game” not only because he scored his career-high 30 points but also because McGrady and the Magic beat the Raptors “really bad” at home a few months prior.
Looking back at it, “Junkyard Dog” said his team relied on him that night, so he was pretty much “obliged” to deliver. In the end, he was happy because his hard work paid off as the Raptors edged McGrady, Grant Hill, and the Magic 115-109.
“I really had that game circle, because when he [McGrady] played in Toronto, I was coming off an ankle injury,” Williams told KJ Hoops in 2020. “I was trying to give my team a chance out there, and I had extra motivation; Vince Carter was down that particular game in Orlando. My team needed a little bit more scoring from me that night, so I was much obliged to show to people that I was not just a rebounder and defender, that I could actually score at basketball game.”
Needless to say, Williams noted it was extra unforgettable as he spearheaded the Carter-less Raptors to an empathic victory against T-Mac, whom he already considered “a Hall of Famer” at the time.
“And it is definitely much more memorable when you do it against Tracy McGrady versus anybody else in the league during that time because he is also a Hall of Famer,” he stressed.
Though Williams never reached the 30-point realm again after that regular season game in 2002, having gotten the better of a prime Tracy McGrady without the help of a perennial All-Star is a story that he can proudly tell his kids and grandkids.