Not so long ago, Monty Williams' Phoenix Suns were up 2-0 in the NBA Finals and two precious victories away from the franchise's first championship. Then Giannis Antetokounmpo continued to happen and the Milwaukee Bucks turned into a different team, ripping off four straight and capturing the sport's shiniest crown.
The weighty disappointment of the night was evident as Williams sat at the postgame podium and answered questions. “I think it’s going to take me a minute. I just don’t take it for granted,” he said, his voice cracking. “It’s hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know? It’s hard to process right now.”
Shortly after this, Williams visited the triumphant Milwaukee locker room to personally congratulate them on prevailing.
“I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as a man and a coach,” he said while embracing Antetokounmpo. “You guys deserved it, and I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach. You guys made us a better team.”
The gesture was immediately appreciated in the moment and will continue to be in the future. It was a touch of pure class from Williams. One need only watch the first clip in this post to realize how difficult this must have been. It's may sound trite but you do really learn more about a person when they lose. And Williams was the exact guy we've come to expect.
After going 173-221 in five seasons with the New Orleans Hornets and never advancing past the first round of the playoffs, he's found success in Phoenix much sooner than projected and has a team capable of competing again next year. Would be great to see him back.