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If Carlos Gonzalez Jr. doesn't fulfill his dream of playing in the NBA, the 13-year-old just might have a successful career as a motivational speaker.
After all, his words of wisdom certainly humbled New Jersey Nets swingman Terrence Williams.
|Terrence Williams scored six points Thursday in his return to the NBA.|
Williams, 23, had just been sent down to the NBA D-League's Springfield (Mass.) Armor -- punishment for being late to Nets practices, shootarounds and meetings -- when he encountered Gonzalez, an Armor ballboy.Gonzalez was eager to meet Williams, one of his favorite players. He also couldn't understand why Williams would put himself in a position to be demoted.
Gonzalez believed he had to say something.
"I was nervous," said Gonzalez, who approached Williams before his first game with the Armor. "But I just wanted to help him. I thought to myself, 'Wow I'm actually meeting an NBA player, and I wanted to give him a heads up.'
"I told him, 'You made a mistake and you shouldn't feel like you're down here because you're not a good ballplayer. You need to learn from it.' If I was him, I wouldn't want to be down here. I'd do anything to stay in the NBA.'"
Williams gave his recollection of the conversation to the Newark Star-Ledger."I was like, 'Do you watch the NBA?' " said Williams, who was called up Tuesday and played 26 minutes against the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday. "He said, 'Yeah, you're one of the players I [like to] watch. Why would you blow it?'
"I was like, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'Why would you want to have an attitude, and be late -- the simplest things you can control? And you get to be in the NBA? I would die to do that, so don't blow it.'
"That's a -year-old telling me that," Williams told the Star-Ledger, adding that his mother had called him in tears after his demotion, asking if he had been kicked out of the NBA. "So I think that and my mom crying was what really got to me. So down there, I decided to take everything serious, like I was here, as far as practicing and playing in a game."
Williams, who averaged 28 points, 11.3 rebounds and 10.7 assists in three games with the Armor, says he learned from his D-League stint.
"There definitely was an awakening," Williams told the Star-Ledger. "It woke me up a lot."
Gonzalez, an eighth-grader, hopes to start at guard for his school this season. And he's going to continue to watch Williams play, even though he hasn't spoken to the second-year pro since his recall.
"He's shown me things you should and shouldn't do," Gonzalez said. "I just like the way he is and the way he plays."
So what advice would Gonzalez give to Williams as he moves forward with his career?
"The past is over," Gonzalez said. "Just worry about what you're doing now. Just play the game.
"And don't take life for granted as well."
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.