Commercial and bureaucratic hindrances collided with an uncontrollable reality: the faith of many players.
Monty Williams forgives the driver who killed his wife: “We cannot serve the Lord if we don't have a heart of forgiveness.”
The words of former NBA player and assistant coach of the New Orleans Thunder, Monty Williams, at his wife’s funeral have received international media attention.
Monty Williams' wife, Ingrid, died on February 10 after a van which had lost control hit her car. The driver of the other vehicle, Susannah Donaldson, also lost her life in the accident.
Monty Williams told the 900 people attending the funeral in Oklahoma that her wife believed in Jesus.
“I am thankful for all the people who showed up today. It's a pretty tough time, not just for me but for all of you as well. I'm mindful of that”, he said.
“This is hard for my family, but this will work out. And my wife would punch me if I were to sit up here and whine about what is going on. That doesn't take away the pain, but it will work out because God causes all things to work out. You just can't quit; you can't give in”, he said, referring to Romans 8:28.
“And I think this is the most important thing we need to understand. Everyone is praying for me and my family, which is right, but let us not forget that there were two people in this situation. And that family needs prayer as well, and we have no ill will towards that family.”
“In my house, we have a sign that says, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness”, he emphasised.
“That family didn’t wake up wanting to hurt my wife. Life is hard. It is very hard, and that was tough, but we hold no ill will toward the Donaldson family. And we, as a group, brothers united in unity, should be praying for that family because they grieve as well. So let’s not lose sight of what’s important.”
A VERY RESPECTED COACH
Williams is a retired NBA player who played 9 seasons for teams like the New York Knicks, the San Antonio Spurs and the Philadelphia 76ers before a knee problems forced him to retire in 2003.
Williams joined Oklahoma City's staff this season after serving as head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for five years.
He married his wife Ingrid in 1995 and they have three daughters and two sons.
His team co-workers and other basketball professionals have said Monty Williams is an example of love and faith. The head coach of the Thunder, Erik Horne, said Williams’s words “show what kind of guy Monty is, what kind of person Ingrid is, and the impact they made with different organizations and different coaches' lives.”