Tyson Chandler rips Williams' claims

NEW YORK -- Knicks center Tyson Chandler has termed "ridiculous" an assertion by ESPN analyst Jay Williams that members of the 2002-03 Chicago Bulls smoked marijuana prior to games.

Chandler and Williams played together on the 2002-03 Bulls.

"I don't know why he would say something like that," Chandler said Monday evening at the Knicks' charity bowling event to support Madison Square Garden's Garden of Dreams Foundation. "I think that's ridiculous that he would come out and say something. I don't remember that, to be honest with you. And it's unfortunate that he would make that kind of statement about our game."

Williams' statement appeared in a New York Times profile of him on Sunday.

The assertion was a small element of the story, which was a profile on Williams' return from a devastating motorcycle accident that ended his career in 2003.

In the story, Williams said, "I didn't know how to handle it at first. I didn't know how to be around it. Guys were on the bench, trying to kick it to girls in the stands, having ball boys run over. I mean, some guys were high."

Asked to clarify, Williams said: "There were guys smoking weed before games. Guys asking in the middle of the game, 'Do you smell popcorn?'"

Williams, a college basketball analyst for ESPN, addressed his remarks in a statement on Monday.

"I gave an honest account of my struggles and observations during a specific time in my life; that was one small element. It was a long time ago and I am not looking to make it a bigger issue," he said.

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.