NBA: Williams' All-Star journey started in Utah
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2009, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Cleveland guard Mo Williams has come a long way.

The Jazz selected Williams in the second round of the 2003 draft and, on Sunday night, he played in his first All-Star Game as an injury replacement for Toronto's Chris Bosh .

"Trust me, I'm [soaking] it all in," Williams said. "Every day, every event. It's a blessing to be here and I [took] it all in."

Williams played the 2003-04 season in Utah before signing with Milwaukee, which traded him to Cleveland last summer.

With the Cavaliers, Williams is the No. 2 scoring option behind mega-star LeBron James on a championship contender.

"It's a perfect, ideal situation for me," he said. "I complement what the team needed and the team complements what I needed."

Williams gives some credit for his success to his one year with the Jazz: "I learned what it takes to win, playing for the best coach I've ever played for, Jerry Sloan .

"He really drives you to be the best you can be. Whatever that is, he makes you reach your peak. … One thing about Jerry Sloan, he gets the best out of his players."

During his rookie season in Utah, Williams played in 57 games. He averaged five points and 1.3 assists in 13.5 minutes. He shot 38 percent from the field, including 25.6 percent from the three-point line.

No room for Hedo?

At David Stern 's annual All-Star Weekend press conference, a Turkish journalist told the NBA commissioner he was "ashamed" that Orlando's Hedo Turkoglu was not picked to play in the All-Star Game.

"This is a tough league," Stern said, trying not to smile. "We've got lots of unhappy people. They get unhappy because they don't get elected. They get unhappy if I don't select them if there is an injury. Sometimes they get unhappy if I do select them."

Pausing, Stern said, "Oh, no. That's Phil Jackson ."

Everybody laughed because Stern was referencing the fact that Jackson said he would rather take a few days off than coach another All-Star Game, after the Lakers secured the honor for him by compiling the best record in the Western Conference.

Returning to the question about Turkoglu, Stern said, "It's a great sport. We could have four All-Stars teams instead of two and they would all be stocked with spectacular players. That's just what happens. I'm sorry you came so far. … That just happens."

luhm@sltrib.com