Suns coach Monty Williams handled his team’s loss on Tuesday night the same way he handles just about everything else in his life — with tremendous class.
After Milwaukee defeated Phoenix in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals to capture its first championship since 1971, Williams took what had to be a difficult walk to the Bucks’ locker room to congratulate Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his teammates. The ABC cameras caught Williams speaking to the Bucks in the midst of their celebration.
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“I just wanted to come and congratulate you guys as a man, a coach,” Williams said. “You guys deserve it, and I’m thankful for the experience. You guys made me a better coach. You made us a better team. Congratulations.”
It was an unfortunate end to a terrific season for the Suns, as Phoenix lost four consecutive games after holding a 2-0 series lead. During his postgame media availability, an emotional Williams admitted that this loss “hurt badly” but noted that he felt “grateful” for the chance to coach this group and compete for a title.
“I think it’s going to take me a minute,” Williams said. “I just don’t take it for granted. It’s hard to get here, and I wanted it so bad, you know? It’s hard to process right now. It’s hard. That’s all.”
Williams has dealt with such overwhelming heartbreak in his personal and professional life. No matter what challenges he faces, though, Williams always manages to exude grace and humility.
It won’t be easy for the Suns to leave this season behind knowing they were just two wins away from a championship, but they couldn’t have asked for a better coach to guide them through the toughest moments.