During a recent appearance on DraftKings’ “The Starting Five” podcast, Williams detailed his interesting response when initially approached by former Heat center Shaquille O’Neal about a potential trade to Miami.
— DraftKings (@DraftKings) November 14, 2023
“He came to the house and said, ‘How would you like it if you got traded to the Heat?'” Williams said of O’Neal. “You can tell Pat Riley you can cut my left nut off if we get down to the Heat.”
Later that summer, Williams was indeed traded to the Heat as part of the largest single trade in NBA history. The deal included 13 players and five total teams: the Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Hornets, Boston Celtics, Utah Jazz and Miami. In addition to Williams, the Heat also landed Antoine Walker, James Posey and Andre Emmett in the deal.
The trade worked out well for both Williams and Miami, as the Heat went on to win the NBA championship over the Dallas Mavericks that season. The title was the first in Heat history, and the only one Williams would win over the course of his career.
Following their Finals victory, Williams revealed that Riley’s wife approached him about the pledge he made to O’Neal.
“We win a championship in Dallas that year,” Williams said. “Pat Riley’s wife came up to me. ‘Congratulations. Don’t think we ain’t forgot about that left nut.’ Go head and chop it off right now. We got this thing.”
Williams played two more seasons in Miami after the championship run, but the team was unable to duplicate the success of his first season with the organization. The Heat were swept by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs during Williams’ second season in South Beach, and they failed to even qualify for postseason play the following year.
After leaving Miami in 2008, Williams retired briefly. He then went on to play with the Orlando Magic and the Grizzlies again before calling it a career in 2011. He retired with career averages of 10.5 points and 5.9 assists per game.
Affectionately known as White Chocolate, Williams played an important role on that 2006 title team, so O’Neal is undoubtedly glad that he recruited the crafty guard. Similarly, Williams is probably very happy that he was able to get a ring with the Heat without actually having to part with a body part.