The inaugural NBA Awards set to air June 26 on TNT and San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations Monty Williams will be honored as a recipient of the Sager Strong Award.
The award, named after the late Craig Sager, will be presented annually "to an individual who has been a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace," according to a release from the NBA. Sager passed away in December 2016 after a long battle with cancer.
"Craig Sager's amazing attitude was truly inspirational," Williams said in a statement. "He was a champion during his battle, fighting every day with grace and humor. I have great respect for Craig, Stacy and the Sager family so it's humbling to be the first recipient of the Sager Strong Award. In our case, my children and I couldn't have made it through the tough times without the grace of God and the wonderful support we received from family and friends. For all of those who prayed for us, everyone who provided us with hope, love and support, it's impossible to thank each of you enough. We are forever grateful."
Williams tragically lost his wife Ingrid in a car accident in February 2016 after being hit in a head-on collision. He was serving on the coaching staff for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the time but took a leave of absence after the event and became a pillar of hope and strength for his family and five kids during their difficult time dealing with tragedy and mourning the loss of their mother and, for Monty, his wife. His reaction after the incident in offering forgiveness to the individual who killed his wife was both heartbreaking and courageous.
Williams served as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for five seasons from 2010-2015, and was a mainstay of Billy Donovan's coaching staff as an assistant before joining the Spurs in September 2016.