Deron Williams is the on the cover of Resident Magazine, a publication for city dwellers. Williams doesn't talk about basketball but instead about the city, admitting "he doesn't feel so much like a New Yorker," and his charity, the Point of Hope Foundation, which has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts and grants since it was founded, much of it lately to causes related to autism, which affects his adopted son, D.J.
Here's how the author, Rory Winston, describes how D.J's autism affected him...
"We adopted DJ and the two of us got very close. Actually, from all our kids, he's the one who always liked being with me more, a real Daddy's boy. Anyway at 18 months, he gets diagnosed with autism and I'm like wow! I heard of it but what exactly is there to do?
After some effort, a choked up Williams drives on, "With autism, families live through different stages ... first, there's denial. 'Not my kid!' You know so many refuse to have their kid tested. But that's the single most important thing to do. They need to get in there and give it their all." Williams looks up as though a ball had frozen midair: "The earlier people know, the faster they can do something positive."
When I tell Williams that I've heard he's an ambassador for Autism Speaks, he smiles bashfully and concedes, "Yeah ambassador -- it's what they call it; but mostly what's important is that the message needs to get out. People need to face it head on."
On a lighter note, D-Will speaks about New Yorkers. Asked what makes a New Yorker, he tells Winston...
"What constitutes a New Yorker?" Williams gives way to a wonderfully open smile and says, "Taking the subway ... which by the way I love to take." He anticipates my move and intercepts: "Yes, of course, I have a chauffered car but the subway is always faster." Eyes on the invisible basket overhead he continues, "Second thing is the New York/Brooklyn accent -- which I don't have." Then looking me in the eyes, his words seemingly jump beyond my reach, "Third thing is New Yorkers are tough. Or at least they think they are."
The Point of Hope's "DodgeBarrage" will be held September 15 at Basketball City.