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Originally published Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

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Local NBA connections: Catching up with Terrence Williams

We caught up with former Rainier Beach High star Terrence Williams on his way home from practice — driving a new white Porsche. Williams, a 6-foot-6 guard...

We caught up with former Rainier Beach High star Terrence Williams on his way home from practice — driving a new white Porsche. Williams, a 6-foot-6 guard, was traded by New Jersey to the Houston Rockets in December. The Nets had demoted the second-year player to the NBA Development League for 12 days for arriving late to a shoot-around.

Seattle Times: The D-League was a surprising turn; did you like anything about your time with the Springfield Armor?

Terrence Williams: There's probably nothing good about Springfield, but I got to play basketball. At the end of the day, all I want to do is play basketball.

ST: What would you say is the biggest difference between the NBA and the D-League?

TW: People look down on you. It was kind of an unnatural situation. I took it as you can't take anything for granted. When you have to travel to a YMCA gym and you're showering with guys that's not on the basketball team — a 60-year-old man — it makes you analyze and think about things more.

ST: Wow. And you were sent down for "disciplinary reasons," arriving late to shoot-around. Is there anything specific that you're doing now to be sure you're not late to practice or shoot-around?

TW: I was late to a shoot-around in Jersey. I was never late to a practice. When you're late once, it turns into six times. I'm like, "Where did this come from?" Everybody in the world thinks I'm late to practices and shoot-arounds — no! I was late to a shoot-around, never a practice.

ST: I'm glad I asked.

TW: That's what they put out there. Them and all of that is in the past. The thing I'm doing to not be late to a shoot-around or practice now is the same thing I was doing in Jersey. I just wake up and go to practice. Here, there's not traffic like there was there. Here, they're more professional, as in the coach holds you to be professional and do your job. Everything else, if it's little and minor, he's not worried about that. Some other places, they worry too much about little things and not basketball, how to win a game. So I would be lying if I sat here and said, "Yeah, I've got two alarm clocks and I've got somebody to wake me up." I don't have that.

ST: Does having Seattleite Aaron Brooks there help?

TW: He can kind of keep me levelheaded when I'm not playing and I feel a certain way and want to say certain things. I can say it to him and not have to worry about him going back to tell the coach like my previous team. I can trust him. The things I'm going through — as far as not playing right away — he went through. So it's a lot easier for me to just be calm and sit on the sideline and cheer my team on.

ST: You're an entrepreneur/trendsetter. Tell me about this #Wordapp phenomenon on Twitter and T-shirts. Is it from that Cameo song?

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TW: That what song?

ST: Cameo! You don't know the 1980s song "Word Up!"

TW: No, I don't even know who Cameo is.

ST: Ouch, you are so young. Anyway, why did you start your version?

TW: People say it a lot — word up. I just put a different twist to it — "app." It's really Word-App. I went to Nate (Robinson's) house one night in New York (while playing for New Jersey), and we were playing a card game. I won and I said it and he was like, "What are you saying?" I told him and he said he was going to start using that. Of course he was; he uses everything, even if he didn't come up with it. Then I went on his Twitter profile and he said it every tweet. "Damn, dog, you're wearing the word out!" He said, "Nah, you should say it all the time so people can know and ask what it means." Then he said we should get some shirts made, but we never talked about it. Next thing I know, somebody said they had just bought one of my shirts off the website. What website? I went to the website (wordaapp.spreadshirt.com) and there's Nate with a "WordApp" jersey on, selling shirts all in Celtics colors. I called Nate and was like, "So, that's how we're doing it? That's your word?" He said we were going to split the money, but I wasn't on the website for one, and two, there's no Nets colors. We got it taken care of where I'm on there and that's how it came about. I say it all the time. It's punctuation, a period at the end of a sentence. She looks fine, #wordapp.

ST: Do the T-shirts make much money?

TW: I've never even asked about the money. I told Nate to keep the website and let's check the money when both of us retire from basketball. If it only makes $10,000, whatever; that's $5,000 each more than we had.

Jayda Evans

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