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Friday
Feb242012

Orlando Magic Executive Pat Williams To Receive Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2012 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award

Has spent over 40 years in NBA front offices with Orlando, Philadelphia, Chicago and Atlanta

SPRINGFIELD, MA – Orlando Magic Executive Pat Williams, who has spent nearly 50 years in professional sports, has been selected to receive the 2012 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced today.

The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was instituted by the Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1973 and is the most prestigious award presented by the Hall of Fame outside of Enshrinement.  Named in honor of Hall of Famer John W. Bunn (Class of 1964), the first chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame Committee who served from 1949-1964, the award honors coaches, players and contributors whose outstanding accomplishments have impacted the high school, college, professional or international game.

“Pat Williams has dedicated over four decades of his career to shaping NBA teams, making him an outstanding recipient of this year’s John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.  “His resume of accomplishments and passion for his teams has made an impact on basketball players, coaches and fans since he started his first front office job in 1968.”

“The Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award was created to honor colleagues like Pat Williams who has demonstrated his enthusiasm for the game of basketball throughout his life,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board.  “Pat not only made a major impact in his leadership to cultivate the Chicago Bulls organization and bring a championship to the Philadelphia 76ers, but he invested an incredible effort to bring a successful franchise to Central Florida.”

Williams, who has been a part of the Orlando Magic organization since 1986, is currently the team’s Senior Vice President.

"Pat Williams leadership and vision was instrumental in bringing the Magic to Orlando, but the influence he has had on the sport of professional basketball stretches far beyond Central Florida," said Alex Martins, Chief Executive Officer for the Orlando Magic. "Through his love for the game and, most importantly, for those involved in it, Pat has positively impacted the lives of countless players, coaches and executives. He has held practically every front office position there is, and excelled in every role. Pat simply embodies all that is good about professional sports.  I can think of no one more deserving of this great honor than Pat."

Williams was promoted to his current post from the general manager position in April of 1996. As the senior vice president, Williams serves in strategic planning activities relating to RDV Sports, the parent company of the Magic.  He has been the face of the team since its inception in 1987 and helped develop numerous aspects of the franchise both on and off the court, leading the team to the NBA finals in 1995.  In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history.


Prior to joining the Magic organization, Williams began his NBA career in 1968 as the Philadelphia 76ers business manager and the next year, at the age of 29, became the general manager of the Chicago Bulls until 1973 when he left to take the same role with the Atlanta Hawks.  After one season with the Hawks, he returned to Philadelphia where he spent 12 years as the team’s general manager leading the Sixers to a World Championship in 1983.

Before he started his four-plus decades in the NBA, Williams began his career in baseball.  He was a three-year letterman as a catcher for Wake Forest and he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1962 then catching for two seasons with the Miami Marlins, a Class A club in the Florida State League.

He moved to Miami’s front office in 1964 and took the general manager job with the Spartanburg (S.C.) Phillies in 1965 -- later elevated to the position of president of the organization in 1967.

In 1967, he was chosen as the Minor League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News. Williams remains active in baseball as a catcher in Dream Week games in Florida during the winter. He was also the president of Orlando's Double-A Southern League team from 1990-1993.

Pat and his wife Ruth are the parents of 19 children, 14 of whom are adopted from four foreign countries.  He has written 65 books, including his version of the birth of the Orlando Magic, entitled Making Magic, and is considered one of the country’s top motivational speakers.  Williams completed the Boston Marathon 13 times and has finished 55 marathons in the last 15 years.  He was voted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 2001.

Williams will be presented the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ceremonies, to be held at the “Hall of Fame Family Reunion Dinner” on Thursday, September 6. The annual Enshrinement Ceremony will be held on Friday, September 7.  For ticket information, please visit www.hoophall.com.

Previous John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award Winners
1973 - John Bunn
1974 - John Wooden
1975 - J. Walter Kennedy
1976 - Henry P. Iba
1977 - Clifford B. Fagan
1978 - Curt Gowdy
1979 - Eddie Gottlieb
1980 - Arnold "Red" Auerbach
1981 - Ray Meyer
1982 - Daniel Biasone
1983 - Robert J. Cousy
1984 - Lawrence F. O'Brien
1985 - Lee Williams
1986 - Grady W. Lewis
1987 - David R. Gavitt
1988 - Haskell Hillyard
1989 - George E. Killian
1990 - Pat Head Summitt
1991 - Morgan B. Wootten
1992 - Will Robinson
1993 - Joe Vancisin
1994 - William Wall
1995 - Pete Carlesimo
1996 - Vic Bubas
1997 - C.M. Newton
1998 - Tex Winter
1999 - The Harlem Globetrotters
2000 - Meadowlark Lemon
2001 - Tom Jernstedt
2002 - Harvey Pollack
2003 - Joe O'Brien
2004 - Zelda Spoelstra
2005 - Marty Blake
2006 - Betty Jaynes
2007 - Thomas "Satch" Sanders
2008 - Val Ackerman
2009 - Johnny "Red" Kerr
2010 - Don Meyer
2011 - Brian McIntyre
2012 - Pat Williams

About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame:
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was invented, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level – professional, collegiate and high school, for both men and women on the global stage.