(Image Credit: adamemmenecker)
Bison Dele, born Brian Carson Williams, was a pretty interesting character to say the least. He wasn’t your normal everyday millionaire athlete. If he was playing ball nowadays one could only imagine what he would be tweeting about. As a die hard Detroit Piston and NBA fan since about 1996-ish, my personal memories of Bison are fleeting at best. I will be referring to him as Bison, or Dele.
Dele had a very nice role on the 1997 Bulls championship team. He was signed in April of that year (he had played well with Clippers season prior, but had contract disputes with organization and was a free agent) and played the remaining 9 games of the regular season, impressing Coach Jackson to the point where he became an integral piece of the playoff rotation, averaging 6 points and almost 4 rebounds in 17.7 minutes in 19 playoff games, giving the Bulls a dependable center combo of Longley and Dele.
The Detroit Pistons took notice of Dele’s playoff performance and signed him prior to the following season (97/98). In his first season with Detroit he started 78 games and averaged a team best 8.9 boards a game and trailed only Grant Hill in scoring, averaging 16.2 ppg (51% fg).
Prior to the 98/99 season Bison went by the name of Brian Williams–the name change to Bison Dele was an honor to his Cherokee and African ancestry. Bison would play just one more NBA season before calling it quits, leaving 5 years and $35 million behind on his Detroit contract.
It’s believed Bison died on July 7, 2002, at the hands of his brother Miles Dabord (Kevin Williams) aboard a boat in the South Pacific.
The New York Times in September of 2002 published a piece about Bison worthy of your attention, “Dele and Dabord: The Twisting Trail of Two Brothers”. You can read it here.
Follow Ryan on Twitter (@rpravato).