Shortly after the most crushing defeat of his coaching career, Monty Williams made the trek to Milwaukee’s locker room.
The Bucks, goggled up and ready to party, had just beaten Williams’ Suns in Game 6 to secure Milwaukee’s first NBA championship in 50 years. But the Suns’ head coach––regarded as an exceptional leader and class act––threw his arm around Giannis Antetokounmpo’s shoulder and addressed the room.
“I don’t want to take away from [the celebrations],” Williams said with a heavy heart. “I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as men. You guys deserved it and I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach. You made us a better team. Congratulations.”
Williams’ brief speech drew a loud applause from Bucks players, staff and owners. His gesture, while honorable, was unsurprising. The former Hornets/Pelicans coach (2010-15) possesses a sky-high approval rating around the basketball community.
After losing a heartbreaking NBA Finals, Suns head coach Monty Williams went to the Bucks’ locker room to personally congratulate them on their championship.
This man is all class and someone a coach at any level should look to as a role model. pic.twitter.com/9YK18H82dH
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) July 21, 2021
Right before Williams’ trip to the Bucks’ locker room, he had weathered an emotional post-game press conference.
Monty Williams had an emotional press conference and then congratulated the Bucks in their locker room pic.twitter.com/SIWhOowcfm
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 21, 2021
“I just don’t take it for granted,” Williams said, on the verge of tears, about his first finals experience. “It’s hard to get here and I wanted it so bad. It’s hard to process right now…That’s all.”
With a promising young core of Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, Phoenix isn’t going anywhere. Expect the Suns, behind Williams’ leadership, to contend again in 2021-22.