Grant Williams responds to Mike Gorman’s pointed criticism


“It kind of hurt but at the same time, you smile through it.”

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - APRIL 01: (L-R) Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics talks with Grant Williams #2 of the Charlotte Hornets after their game at Spectrum Center on April 01, 2024 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Grant Williams received some support from Jayson Tatum last month. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The 2023-24 season hasn’t been particularly kind to Grant Williams.

Despite inking a four-year, $53.3 million contract as part of an offseason trade to the Mavericks, the 25-year-old forward only played 47 games in Dallas before getting dealt to the Charlotte Hornets in early February.

Since his short tenure in Dallas, Williams has been the conduit of some harsh criticism — with ESPN reporter Tim MacMahon noting on the Hoop Collective Podcast that Williams wore out his welcome with the Mavs after not reporting to the team in good shape and his tendency for “yapping.”

But it was longtime Celtics play-by-play broadcaster Mike Gorman who might have doled out the most damning commentary on the former Boston forward. During an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Hardy” in March, Gorman didn’t pull any punches. 

“He was annoying to everybody. I think, initially, everybody thought he was kind of a wise-ass, but he’s kind of cute, and he’s kind of funny,” Gorman said of Williams. “Then it just kind of wore thin. It got thin in Dallas, obviously. …He had some issues in that area that if he doesn’t get rid of, he doesn’t have enough for teams to say, ‘Well OK, but despite that, we’re going to keep him here because he’s a great player.’ He’s not.

“He’s an extra. An eighth, ninth, or 10th guy on your roster, so those guys are very replaceable. The guy’s a bad locker room guy. If you’re a bad locker room guy, you’re an eighth or ninth guy, you’re not going to be the eighth or ninth guy for long because you’re not going to be on the team for long.”

Williams’ former Celtics teammate, Jayson Tatum, came to his defense following Gorman’s comments last month. 

But on Monday, Williams offered up his own thoughts on Gorman’s words while speaking with Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe

“You can’t control people’s opinions or what they say,” Williams told Washburn “It meant the world to me that Jayson and Jaylen came to my defense without me asking. It was pretty cool seeing that. It showed the person that I am.

“I had a lot of great years in Boston. I thought I had a great relationship with Mike, and maybe I still do. Maybe he was commenting on what he thought was happening. I always loved watching him and Tommy (Heinsohn) when I first got there, and now him and Scal (Brian Scalabrine). I try my best to keep up with Scal.

“(Gorman’s comments) definitely caught me off-guard, but there are things they’re going to say and you can’t control. I try to treat people with grace and care. It kind of hurt but at the same time, you smile through it.”

Williams is looking to find new footing with the Hornets, where he’s averaged 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game over 24 contests.

Even though he admitted to Washburn that the last few months have been humbling, Williams stressed that he doesn’t want to change his light-hearted and vocal approach both on and off the court.

“When I first get to a new environment, I say I talk a lot. Sometimes it might annoy you and other times you might love it,” Williams said. “I’m gonna be there in support of you as a teammate, as a man. I’m gonna have your back on and off the floor, and that’s the No. 1 important thing. No matter if I’m annoying, no matter if I piss people off sometimes, they know it’s coming out from the right mentality, the right place.

“I always said I definitely adjusted. I was way worse my rookie year. I got told ‘shut the (expletive) up’ in the (NBA) Bubble versus now. It’s a matter of continuing to grow, understanding when to speak versus when to hold back.

“I’ve learned that over the past four or five years being in the league and playing with different guys. My relationship with Jayson and Jaylen and how I communicate with them may be different than how I communicate with Kyrie (Irving) or Luka or Brandon (Miller) and LaMelo (Ball) here. As I continue to grow, I’ll continue to get better with it. But I try my best to be a leader with my approach every single day.”

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