Never Be Defeated: The Story of Charles Williams’ Journey

WASHINGTON (June 29, 2022) – Former Howard University standout Charles “CJ” Williams created a legacy with the men’s basketball program that could stand for years to come.


The all-time leading scorer for Howard and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) proved to be a dominating force during his entire career (2016-20).


Due to the spread of COVID-19 and its two-year pandemic that Americans around the world are still facing, Williams was unable to fulfill several of the goals that he planned; one was making it to the NBA.


“The NBA was always my dream,” said Williams. “I was really young when I started playing. My dad played Michael Jordan highlights in his house. I would watch them repeatedly, day and night, and I fell in love with it.”


Williams also recounts how meeting some NBA greats at the NBA All-Star game changed his outlook on the game forever.


“My dad took me to the 2008 and 2010 NBA All-Star weekend festivities,” recalled Williams at a younger age. “He exposed me to a lot of the guys and met people like Lebron James and Michael Jordan. It motivated me to get to that point.”


However, in 2020 with COVID-19 still a challenge, Williams’ dreams to play in the NBA was cut short. Instead of in-person workouts and traveling to meet with NBA executives, he was reduced to Zoom meetings, which he felt that made a difference.


“I could only conduct Zoom interviews with NBA teams,” Williams explained. “The NBA is a business, so they prefer to meet in-person. And I couldn’t fly out and go to different workouts, so that kind of put a halt on my professional career for about a year.”


Recently, Williams found another home in Luxembourg, playing for B.B.C Etzela in the Total League where he averaged 19.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists en route to the league’s Rookie of the Award.


“It was tough at first,” Williams stated. “I was adjusting to a different country, culture and lifestyle.”


Despite being over 7,000 miles and several time zones away, Williams has come to find his way by bonding with several American friends and teammates.


“Honestly, I credit them for helping me keep my sanity,” Williams continued. “There are players from New York, Ohio, etc., so we have the same backgrounds. We all share the same goals, playing in the NBA or WNBA, so we stick together.”


Williams knows he wouldn’t be here without the belief in himself and the support of his family, which carried him throughout this journey.


“My parents, aunts and uncles are my support system,” Williams expressed. “They encouraged me to try, so I give them a lot of credit.”


Williams also gives a lot of credit to his former coach Kevin Nickleberry, who recruited him at Howard.


“I give a lot of credit to my old coach, Kevin Nickleberry,” said Williams. “I called him a few times and he told me to stay the course. He knows my game, so he just gave me a lot of words of encouragement and wisdom. He helped me a lot.”


Although Williams is still playing as a professional basketball player in Europe, he is still eyeing to make it to the NBA.


“I would love to make a stop in the G-League,” Williams expressed. “There are a lot of guys that played in the G-League and went on to make an immediate impact in the NBA. There are a few guys in this past NBA All-Star Game. I would love the opportunity.”


However, regardless of any of the challenges that he faced, Williams knows where his dreams and heart lie, and this former MEAC Rookie of the Year, will stop at nothing to get there.


“I am driven and determined,” Williams concluded. “I hate losing and I am really passionate about basketball. It’s my job now and I am always finding ways to get better.”


Recently, 6-foot-6 wing was selected to participate in the first annual HBCU Showcase at the 2022 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas (July 11).


Written by Alex D. Williams, Howard University Broadcast Journalism graduate, c/o ’22


Derek W. Bryant, Howard Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations & Sports Information, Ed Hill, Jr., retired Howard Sports Information Director and Charles Williams contributed to his story.

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