NBA Insider: Homeless man could find home with Cavaliers
Just days into 2011, an Ohio man is already having what could turn into the best year of his life.
I'm not always the biggest fan of social networking and things like that, but some stories that go viral actually deserve to.
The story of Ted Williams of Columbus, Ohio, is one of those stories.
By now you've probably already seen the video from the Columbus Dispatch showing a 53-year-old homeless man with a sign on the side of the road. Something made Dispatch videographer Doral Chenoweth III pull over and talk to Williams.
Williams, holding a sign that said in part, "I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times."
Those hard times included problems with alcohol and drugs. Williams was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and studied to be a radio broadcaster and held jobs in the industry before addiction derailed him. Williams says he has been sober for more than two years.
Williams has nine children, all living in the Columbus area.
The video has already received millions of hits on youtube.com and on the Columbus Dispatch's web site.
Tuesday morning Williams, sporting a new haircut, appeared on Columbus radio station WNCI and the offers started flooding in.
Among the offers is a generous one from the Cleveland Cavaliers, a two-year contract that would include announcing work at Quicken Loans Arena. Quicken Loans is a Michigan-based company founded by Dan Gilbert, a Michigan native and Michigan State alum. Because of that connection, the Cavaliers are also offering to pay for a mortgage for Williams.
"When you know something's right, you just have to launch," Cavaliers senior vice president of marketing Tracy Marek told the Associated Press. "One of the big things that we talk about here with our organization is how important urgency is and when you see something that feels good and seems right, the important thing that we wanted to do is to let Ted know that we have something here for him that we wanted to talk to him about because he's getting so flooded by offers."
Williams has appeared on the CBS News morning show and is scheduled to be on the Today show and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. More appearances are forthcoming, no doubt.
"I can't believe what's going on," Williams told the AP. "God gave me a million-dollar voice and I just hope I can do right by him."
While in New York, Williams is excited that he'll be able to see his 92-year-old mother for the first time in many years.
"I'm just glad that she is still around," Williams said. "I prayed that she would live long enough that I could make her proud and see her son do something other than stand on the side of the road with a sign asking for money."
NFL Films has also expressed interest in Williams and his "golden voice."
"It's that voice," NFL Films director of post-production Kevin McLoughlin told the AP. "When he was telling his story, I said, 'That's what we do. This guy can tell a story.' Somehow, some way, I need to get a demo with him. He could be that diamond in the rough."
So even though the Cavaliers may have lost LeBron James, they might be getting a new talent from not too far from their own backyard.
Don't bet on it
You might think that just because NBA players make a lot of money that gambling would not be a problem. Think again.
Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins has banned gambling on team flights after Tony Allen and O.J. Mayo fought about an unpaid debt from a card game on a flight back from Los Angeles Monday.
"We're in a confined airplane and things get heated," Hollins told the Commercial Appeal. "I'm done with it. No more gambling. I told my guys if they read a book, that would be good. They have to entertain themselves in a different manner."
A source told the Commercial Appeal that Allen struck Mayo at least five times before teammates were able to separate them. The source said Mayo reneged on a $1,500 debt and also berated Allen.
The source also said that players would even be punished if they are caught gambling in their hotel rooms on road trips.
Mayo did not play in Tuesday's game against Oklahoma City, which the team said was because of bronchitis.
Hollins told the Commercial Appeal the players would have to apologize and hear a lecture but would not endure further team discipline.
However, there is still a possibility the NBA could punish the players.
No more Super Dupe
Former Piston Ronald Dupree was waived by the Toronto Raptors.
Dupree, a former LSU star, played for the Raptors in the summer league and was with them in training camp. He was re-signed by the team Dec. 26 and played in three games, collecting three rebounds and two points in 13 minutes.
Dupree had three stints with the Pistons, 47 games in 2004-05, 19 games in '06-07 and one game in '07-08.
Keeping up with the Kardashians
You have to love the Kardashians. They can't stay away from reality television.
Khloe Kardashian and her husband, L.A. Laker Lamar Odom, will be starring in their own show on E!, which is supposed to start filming early this year.
"Khloe and Lamar are such a dynamic couple that we just knew we had to give them their own series," E! executive vice president Lisa Berger told the AP.
Jan. 6, 2010