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John "Hot Rod" Williams (1962 - 2015)

Getty Images / Allsport / Stephen Dunn

John "Hot Rod" Williams (1962 - 2015)

John Williams, who played as a power forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers from 1986 to 1995, has died, according to his longtime agent, Mark Bartelstein. Williams was 53.

Also known as Hot Rod, Williams died Friday of prostate cancer-related complications in a hospital near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, said Bartelstein. Williams had been treated for the disease for the last six months.

"John loved playing in Cleveland," Bartelstein told the Plain Dealer newspaper in Cleveland, Ohio. "He played a few years after leaving the Cavs, but he always thought of himself as a Cavalier."


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The 6-foot-11 Williams, the Cavs' well-liked sixth man, played nine seasons in Cleveland and four seasons with two other teams, the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks. He averaged double figures in each season in Cleveland, but the Cavaliers traded him to the Suns in 1995. He retired in 1999.

Williams was born Aug. 9, 1962, in Sorrento, Louisiana, which is near Baton Rouge. It's where he got his nickname. As a baby, he had a tendency to make "vroom vroom" noises as he motored about the floor on his hands and knees.

Word of his death reached the former Chicago Bulls star Scottie Pippen, who tweeted, "So sad to hear John 'Hot Rod' Williams is no longer with us. Big man played with a lot of heart and I know his teammates loved him. RIP."

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