Suns’ Monty Williams swallows painful Finals loss, visits Bucks locker to congratulate them on winning title
Monty Williams has every reason to be devastated after his Phoenix Suns lost the NBA Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks. He explained after the game that he’s “never dealt with this kind of hurt as a head coach,” after his Suns lost the last four games of the series after leading 2-0. It is going to take him time to process the defeat, and he struggled to even get the words out in his postgame press conference.
“I just don’t take it for granted,” Williams said. “It’s hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know? It’s hard to process right now. It’s hard, you know. That’s all.” The devastation was palpable. Williams has been on the periphery of the Finals too many times to count. He was drafted by the New York Knicks after their 1994 loss to the Houston Rockets. He left the San Antonio Spurs one year before their 1999 title and joined the Philadelphia 76ers two seasons after they reached the Finals in 2001. He worked as an assistant for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016 when they came one win short of the Finals, and then joined the San Antonio Spurs and Philadelphia 76ers in years that they fell short. Finally, with the Suns, he made it to the Finals for the first time. It ended in bitter disappointment.
Nobody would have blamed Williams if he had chosen simply to sulk. He didn’t. He went to the Bucks locker room to personally congratulate Milwaukee on a well-earned championship:
“I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as a man and a coach,” Williams said. “You guys deserved it. I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach and made us a better team.”
It was a classy move by a coach widely respected as one of the best human beings in the NBA. Williams may not have won the championship this season, but he won the respect of fans around the NBA for the way he handled himself in defeat.