Thursday, June 13, 2024

‘Truly enormous’ Aussie loss as NBL icon, Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams, 46, loses cancer battle

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Beloved Australian basketball figure Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams has died at the age of 46.

Tributes began flowing on Friday for the media personality and former MVP of Australia’s National Basketball League (NBL), who had been fighting stage four colon cancer.

Williams revealed last year he was suffering from stage four colon cancer and returned to America to undergo chemotherapy treatment in New York.

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He returned to Australia to undergo treatment in Melbourne and sat courtside for an NBL game in November.

“I’m glad I decided to come back to Melbourne to get healed and healthy because it’s been so peaceful for me and that’s half the battle,” he said at the time.

“I miss it. I watch the games back at home. Everybody’s doing a great job. I’m loving what I’m seeing basketball wise on and off the court — storylines, the commentary, just everything.”

L-R Andrew Gaze, Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams and Trevor GleesonSource: News Corp Australia

Williams played three seasons for the Townsville Crocodiles in the NBL, winning the league’s MVP award in 2010 leading the Crocs to the NBL semi-finals twice.

He also played a season for Melbourne United.

Williams later carved out a career in Australia as a commentator renowned for his passion and hot takes.

His enthusiasm for the NBL — and catch cries like “this ain’t a cupcake league” — undoubtedly helped the league gain a foothold in the media and Australian sporting landscape.

A charity golf day was held in Melbourne last month to raise funds for Williams.

“Corey, you’ve been an inspiration to many,” Andrew Gaze said at the event.

“You’ve annoyed a lot of people.

“You’ve shared your personality with the nation through the sport. To see the challenge you’re going through and the way you’re tackling it is inspiring to us all.”

Williams attended last year’s NBL MVP Awards and was given a standing ovation.

Williams won a MVP with the Townsville Crocs.Source: News Corp Australia
His smile lit up Australian basketball,Source: News Corp Australia

Tributes flowed for Williams from across the Australian basketball community.

Sports reporter Roy Ward wrote on X: “Corey Williams was a master of self-promotion and it made him a must-watch on the court and in front of the camera.

“I didn’t know him well but I know his friendship helped so many friends of mine believe they could do special things. That quality is a rare one.”

ESPN’s Olgun Uluc said: “It’s a truly enormous, tragic loss for the Australian basketball community. The NBL doesn’t reach the heights of what it is today without his presence, on and off the court.”

Broadcaster Neroli Meadows tweeted: “I am so glad that Corey knew what he meant to all of us. The love, the standing ovation, the hugs… he’s the one who taught me that lesson so many years ago – it stayed with me, always. Tell people you appreciate them!!!!! I appreciate you my friend…

“Thoughts with Corey’s family, friends, fans (and foes) – the game simply won’t be the same without you.”

Corey Williams at last year’s NBL MVP Awards. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images for NBL)Source: Getty Images

Radio host and MC Jarrod Walsh wrote on X: “Corey Williams not only was a star player, but he also brought a new hype and marketing presence to the @NBL.

“The league would be years behind without his passionate views and promotion of the game.

“So so sad. Vale.”

The NBL is now one of the premier basketball leagues in the world and has been a successful pathway for talented prospects such as LaMelo Ball and Josh Giddey on their way to the NBA.

Perth Wildcats import Alexandre Sarr is projected to go as high as the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

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