Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams is out of quarantine and back on the court.
Williams had to clear a mandatory 10-day quarantine inside the NBA bubble at Disney World in Orlando, instead of the normal four-day quarantine because of a stop at a strip club during an excused absence from the team.
Williams originally left the bubble to attend the funeral of Paul G. Williams, a man Williams referred to as "Pops," and someone he credits for mentoring him in his own life.
"It's extremely difficult, man," said Williams about losing his mentor and having to quarantine alone in his hotel room for ten days on Tuesday after he played 20 minutes in the Clippers 117-115 loss to the Phoenix Suns. "At the end of the day, I truly was grieving two weeks ago. I was really going through something."
During his postgame media availability, Williams was asked right off the bat about his decision to go to the Magic City strip club after attending the funeral. Photographs of Williams wearing a mask circulated on social media. Initially, rapper Jack Harlow—who inadvertently got Williams in trouble for posting the picture—backtracked and said it was an "old photo" and that he missed Williams.
The NBA didn't buy that excuse and immediately investigated the matter. Williams reportedly told NBA investigators that he did indeed stop off at the strip club to pick up take-out food. Needless to say, the general public didn't buy that excuse, neither did the NBA.
"I was thrown under the bus, you know what I'm saying?" said Williams. "I was thrown under the bus. All the attention turned to Magic City because it's a gentleman's club. I feel like if I was at a steakhouse or Hooters or whatever, it wouldn't be half the story. But it is what is."
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In Williams' defense, many strip clubs in the Atlanta area also operate as restaurants, entertainment venues, and nightclubs. Many Atlanta natives rave about the chicken wings at Magic City, and Williams' himself has his own wings named after him on the menu "Louwill Lemon Pepper BBQ Wings."
However, simply stopping to pick up an order of wings named after yourself shouldn't also entail a lap dance. One dancer who works at Magic City told the Los Angeles Times that she performed a "socially distanced" lap dance for Williams while he was at the club and that he "tipped very well."
Needless to say, the whole ordeal probably wasn't worth the extra six days of quarantine that Williams had to undergo as part of the NBA's mandate. In doing so, Williams missed the Clippers Re-Opening Night loss to the Lakers, and their victory over the New Orleans Pelicans two days later.
"Well in hindsight I think as far as the public safety goes, I probably could have made a better quality decision," admitted Williams. "I was a little naïve in that aspect. At the time, I thought I was making a responsible decision. After looking back on it, with everything going on in the world, the pandemic, maybe it wasn't the best quality decision. I chalk it up, take my L, and keep moving."
Williams is the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award winner, and a three-time winner overall. He is once again the favorite to win the award again this season, and is an integral part of the Clippers success up to this point and moving forward into the postseason.