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TNT big man Kelly Williams retires from basketball

Kelly Williams spent his last ten seasons with the TNT franchise. (Dugout Philippines file photo)
By Drew Malihan

MANILA -- After 14 years in the pro scene, Machine Gun Kelly is now decommissioned.

TNT KaTropa forward Kelly Williams surprised the Philippine basketball scene as he announced his retirement from professional play on Monday.

In his social media accounts, Kelly described his decision as both "gladness and sadness."
"I couldn’t have predicted that I’d have the kind of career I was able to experience," said the 2008 PBA MVP.

Williams, 38, also expressed his gratitude to the Philippine basketball community "for giving me solid ground to grow as both a player and a man for the last 15 years."

"Thank you PBA for giving me access to your stage for 14 seasons and to the great fans who supported me during my time. I gave my all when I put Pilipinas and my teams on my chest and I hope you felt that," said the big man who also represented the Philippines in several international competitions.

"Machine Gun" Kelly, as he was known, spent all 14 pro years in the PBA after four years in NCAA-D1 school Oakland University before being picked first overall by the Sta. Lucia Realtors in 2006.

Williams was named Rookie of the Year in 2007 and helped the Realtors secure an All-Filipino championship the same season, in which he became the best player of the conference.

He was also a five-time All-Star and seven-time All-PBA Mythical Team member, three of which were first-team honors. He also was honored the MVP in his sophomore season in 2008.

Williams added five more championships in his name as a member of the Talk 'n Text franchise from 2010, along with two Comeback Player of the Year honors in 2010 and 2017.

Despite being diagnosed with thrombocytopenia or low platelet count and sitting an entire conference in 2009, it doesn't stop Williams as becoming a multi-time member of the Philippine national team, the latest was the Gilas 1.0 in which he was the starting power forward.

The 6'6" big man said that the decision puts him closer to his family.

"I turn the final page of this chapter and I fear not. I did the best I could with what I had, now I can lay my career to rest with peace in my heart. Now I can be nearer to my sons," he said.

Williams averaged 3.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals, and 0.3 blocks in 17 games last season.

Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan