Sometimes, it’s the weight of expectation that carries the heaviest burden. It’s one thing to have a famous older brother; it’s another to see him achieve high school, college, and pro stardom, all in the same city; and it’s another to grow up to be bigger and stronger than that older brother. Now that’s expectation.
But those who knew Troy Jackson know he didn’t shy away from anything, and the expectation was no exception. Rather than attend St. John’s—where his brother, NBA legend Mark Jackson, starred—he chose to make his own way at Louisville. When he first arrived, weighing in at a massive 560 pounds, he dropped over 200 so he could hit the court—three years later, he had helped the Cardinals to Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen berths. But it didn’t take nearly as much time for his infectious personality to make him the BMOC in more ways than one: Louisville voted him one of its 20 most loved athletes of all time.
Escalade had always had that charisma, and somewhere along the line he realized his personality could entertain as well as his game. He joined up with the Tour in 2003 and immediately became one of its most recognizable talents—even today, when you think of streetball’s iconic characters, your mind goes right to Escalade.
Troy Williams passed away February 20, 2011, at the age of 35. We miss his game, but most of all, we miss him.