Jason Williams To Return To NBA Action With Orlando

By Ross Everett

Veteran point guard Jason Williams"nicknamed White Chocolate earlier in his career for his flamboyant play"is returning to the NBA after a season away from basketball. Williams announced that hes re-entering the league this season, and will do so in an Orlando Magic uniform.

Williams signed a one year NBA contract to play for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008, but walked away from it without playing a game wanting to spend time with his wife and family. His attempt to be reinstated late in the season was rebuffed by the NBA, and he ended up sitting out the entire campaign.

When the Clippers relinquished their rights to Williams earlier this summer, he became an unrestricted free agent. Ultimately, he settled on Orlando due to its proximity to his home in nearby Isleworth, Florida and the role the Magic wanted him to play on a championship contender. Magic General Manager Otis Smith provided these comments on the signing:

"Jason provides depth and leadership to our backcourt. He is a veteran point guard that knows what it takes to help us reach our ultimate goal."

When asked to reflect on his NBA and college career"marked by several suspensions and countless other controversies"Williams sounded a philosophical tone:

"Let me tell you this: If I could go all the way back [to the beginning], I wouldn't do a damn thing different. I know I messed up here and there along the way, but those things I didn't do right helped me become the person I am now."

Williams played a crucial backup role during the Miami Heats 2005-2006 NBA championship run, and will be expected to play a similar function as the Magic try to get over the hump and unseat the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Theyre expected to face a tough test in their own conference, with Cleveland, Miami and Boston all having upgraded their lineups during the offseason. - 31494

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