ESPN’s Jay Williams apparently needed a history lesson after sharing a brutally incorrect fact about the Boston Celtics on social media.
On Wednesday, Williams tweeted about the news that the Celtics were closing in on hiring Ime Udoka as the team’s new head coach. In a since-deleted tweet, Williams applauded the hire and added that Udoka would be “the first head coach of color” for the Celtics.
That would be a perfectly fine take if it were remotely true. The Celtics were actually the first North American professional team to hire a black coach when they made Bill Russell player-coach in 1966. Russell and K.C. Jones are the only two black coaches in NBA history with multiple championships, and both accomplished the feat with the Celtics. Boston even had a head coach of color very recently, as Doc Rivers, the last coach to lead the Celtics to a championship, was with the franchise through 2013.
Naturally, plenty of people were eager to call Williams out on how wrong he was.
Jay Williams gets paid to talk about basketball. pic.twitter.com/2ZgSt23P0s
— (@dribblecity) June 23, 2021
Not a very bright man this Jay Williams character. Has he ever heard of Bill Russell, Doc Rivers, KC Jones, ML Carr, Tom Sanders? pic.twitter.com/0F0DAGZooI
— Sports Rabbi (@thesportsrabbi) June 23, 2021
Jay Williams: Born yesterday? https://t.co/yDlltUcr6q
— Duncan Smith (@DuncanSmithNBA) June 23, 2021
Williams could be forgiven if this were an obscure fact. But at minimum, Russell is one of the game’s most legendary figures, and Rivers is still an active coach in the NBA. The 2008 title is hardly ancient history, after all.
Williams has dabbled in controversy before, but of a different type. No wonder he deleted his tweet.