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CenterStage: Deron Williams

Premieres on the YES Network on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, 10:00 p.m.
10/28/2013 2:43 PM ET
By YES Network

Michael Kay's interview with Deron Williams will air after the Nets-Cavs game on YES.
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Williams' first sport was wrestling, and his mother never let him give up.

(Wrestling) was my first sport. I was probably four, and my mom came up to me and was like, 'do you want to wrestle?' I don't know. My uncle, he wrestled in college. So, that might be where it came from. He might've said something to her or something. And I was like, 'sure.' And, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. The first two years I wrestled, I would be crying before the match, like, bawling because I didn't want to get out there. And she would like, drag me on the mat, throw me on the mat. And I would wrestle and then leave. And I'm talking about every match. But she would not let me quit.

The court that Williams grew up playing on was far from professional.

So it was, I mean, it was a tiny court, anyways. You could play, like, three on three on it. Like, the basket was behind where the cement ended. And so like, if you hit shots sometimes, it would go through, hit the edge, and just take off (into a swamp). We did paper, rock, scissors, to see who went down there.

Williams said he felt as if "I'm here" when first playing against, now coach, Jason Kidd.

I remember my first time playing against him, it was like, kind of my, you know, "I'm here" moment. I think I was on the free throw line, or, somebody was shooting a free throw, and I think he came up and stood by me and said something to me. And it's just like, dang, you know, I'm in the NBA. You know, and I'm playing against my idol. So, it was cool.

Williams, the former fighting Illini, reflects on where he originally wanted to play college basketball, and why he didn't.

I wanted to go to North Carolina growing up. That was my dream school. I was just a North Carolina guy. My mom was a North Carolina fan as well. They didn't recruit me. They recruited Raymond Felton. They told me if Raymond didn't commit there that they would, you know, recruit me. But I think it was known that Ray was going to go there. You know, he was top three player, I was like, you know, somewhere around 40.

When traded to the Nets, Williams didn't know it had happened.

It was just a tough situation, 'cause I didn't know it was coming. I was actually in Dallas, about to play Dallas that night, all my family was coming to the game, and I was sitting in a chair like this, getting treatment before shootaround, and you know it pops up on the screen, we were watching Sports Center, and it pops up on the screen... Read it on TV. 'Deron Williams traded to the Nets,' and so I'm like 'I don't know,' we were like looking at each other, I was like, 'Alright let me call somebody.' So I called my agent, and he didn't know nothing about it. And so then a couple minutes later I get a call from the owner of the Jazz, and he was like 'we traded you to the Nets' and that was it. All my teammates were getting on the bus, I went and said goodbye to them. My agent was actually in the town. We went out and ate and figured out what we were gonna do.

Where would a championship parade be held if Brooklyn wins it all?

It's gotta be in Brooklyn, don't even ask. It would be in Brooklyn. It's gotta be, we got Brooklyn on our chests. You got to. I think we'll touch a little bit in Manhattan, I don't know.

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