“Gabby won, won, won”… Disciple of King Kobe, Williams has the fury to win

Head down, beaming, Gabby Williams knows that the Bleues du basket just shot themselves in the head in their defeat against Serbia for the last match of the group of these world championships, Tuesday, similar to the quarter-finals against in powerful China last Thursday. Three days earlier, we already saw him explode a gourd on the ground with anger after the defeat of the France team against Canada, after the first convincing success from the start against the Australians.

Arrived on tiptoe almost a year ago in the French team to compensate for the loss due to injury at the Euros of the leader Bria Hartley, who until then occupied the only naturalized place allowed for selection, Gabby Williams quickly relaxed his choice to adopt. Born in the United States to an American father and a French mother, the new Asvel winger actually has dual nationality. That’s why when former coach Valérie Garnier called him to join the French team, he didn’t hesitate for a moment, he who never hid that he never felt “fully American”.

His attraction to the country of Molière, blanquette and Beaujolais Nouveau is not pretentious, as is this tattoo made when he was 14 years old, which symbolizes his attachment to the country of his family on the mother’s side (his grandmother lives in Paris ): “No one can break our bond”. Today, it continues to grow stronger. “He feels completely French and he will do everything to one day wear the blue jersey,” said former international Edwige Lawson-Wade who brought him to Montpellier in 2019, after two experiences in Europe in Naples and Girona, in Spain.

“I need this! »

The bronze medalist of the Tokyo Olympics, Gabby Williams quickly united around him, until now a major element of the team led by Jean-Aimé Toupane. “He is our best player since the beginning of the competition, confirmed Lawson-Wade. We saw that he has things in hand, it shows that he has improved a lot, that he accepts his role as a leader. He feels that it is up to him to express himself due to the absence of the executives of the French team.” In the comments of the Blue matches on beIN Sports, the former tricolor Audrey Sauret praised his “permanent increase in power since his coming to choose “. “He exudes something very healthy, very peaceful. He may not be a vocal leader but a leader by example, in his character, in his way of fighting and not giving up. »

Gabby Williams’ statistics have been impressive since the start of the World Cup. -Sofascore

This is what Thibaut Petit, the former coach of the BLMA women’s team (Basket Lattes Montpellier) immediately requested. During a match for his team against Girona, he fell crazy: “I saw this energy, this desire to win, this killer side, it immediately caught my eye. I remember an action , I was on my bench and Gabby took a technique after throwing the ball on the ground in anger. That’s when I said to myself ”that girl is fantastic, I need her!””, she laughed. At that time, Williams belonged to the Chicago Sky, whose coach was none other than the husband of Edwige Lawson-Wade, the sports director of Montpellier. The deal was done quickly, to the delight of Petit, who took advantage of a trip to Chicago to spend some time with his future player before he landed in the south of France.

“I saw him around him, in the context of the WNBA, in matches, in training, which allowed me to understand who I was dealing with and I was definitely convinced that he was the player I wanted. We went to see one Chicago football game – he loves all the games, he’s a real fan – and he’s totally behind the team, it’s crazy. With him, it’s win, win, win. »

Born at the University of UConn (Connecticut), a base for women’s college basketball in the United States, one was destined to make the high jump before a knee injury pushed him under the racket decided to bring his anger to win the team of France. “I talked to the girls about the mentality you instilled there, she detailed last summer The group. Loss is the end of the world. We eat, we sleep basketball and victories. Above all, we have no right to lose. Every defeat causes a crisis, everyone will come together and we will analyze it so that it does not happen again. I tried to bring this way of doing things to the French team. This is my state of mind on the pitch, if I leave it I never regret it because I know I gave it my all. »

The “Mamba Mentality”

“He demands himself, and therefore others and the results of his team, he is a perfectionist. That is why he is a complete player because everything he does, attack or defense, he wants to do it, ”says the former sports director of BLMA. Not only in basketball. Thibaut Petit: “When he came to us he barely spoke French but he learned it at a high speed, it was amazing! It’s like what he does on the field actually. If he wants something, he gives himself the means and he gets there. He dreamed of the Euroleague, he was in the Euroleague, he won the Euroleague (with his current club in Sopron, Hungary), he was voted the best defender in the competition. And all this through work. I teach girls who are more talented than her, but also hardworking, no. »

Close to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who both tragically died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, Williams held something. “Having Kobe as a teacher is not really important, assured Lawson-Wade. With him there is no limit to the work, to the hours you can spend training on the floor and that undoubtedly helped him to create a mentality .” “He never boasted of this relationship, however, says the former coach of Montpellier. During the season, by getting to know each other and talking, we know that he was taken Kobe under his wing. He had a strong relationship with him and unfortunately that year, while he was with us, he died. We were playing in Lyon the day it happened, he was devastated. But he was in his image, there is no doubt about that. »

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