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Grant Williams: Invested

The Boston Celtics forward speaks with Boardroom about the run to the NBA Finals, his love of soccer and investing, and running it back in 2022-23 with the Eastern Conference champs.

Grant Williams more than grew into his 3-and-D role during the Boston Celtics‘ run to the NBA Finals last season, shooting 41.1% from three during the regular season and 39.3% in the playoffs. The two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee became a tone-setter and a disruptive force to opposing teams.

Boston was unable to agree to a contract extension before Monday’s league-wide deadline, making him a restricted free agent after the season, but the player himself is nothing short of fully locked in for 2022-23. And further, as a Vice President at the National Basketball Players Association, Williams is already an impactful representative for the game beyond just Boston.

At the 2022 ESPY Awards in July, the 23-year-old forward spoke with Boardroom about his team’s big Finals run, his love for soccer, and what he still has to learn in the world of business as an increasingly avid investor.

This interview, conducted before the Celtics suspended head coach Ime Udoka for the season, has been edited for clarity.

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SHLOMO SPRUNG: What was the biggest thing you learned from the Celtics’ NBA Finals run?

GRANT WILLIAMS: Honestly, the No. 1 thing I learned is how much mental discipline has to be there and how much growth we had as a team — because in terms of youth and ability, we’re there. We just have to grow a little bit more mentally and continue to challenge each other to be better.

SS: I saw you grow on the court last season into someone who would get into opponents’ heads and follow them around the court. Has that always been in you and how get you gain that confidence with the Celtics?

GW: Absolutely. It’s always been in me. I feel like the opportunity is there now. You’re allowed to be out there allowed to play more, allowed
to be more of yourself, so I’m just trying to take advantage of that. Ime [Udoka] encouraged me to be me, but also not doing it too much where it affects the team.

So, a little bit of that balance of learning still, but at the end of the day, we’re just having a great time out there and competing at the highest level.

SS: I know you’re big into investing and entrepreneurship. How have you been navigating that alongside your playing career?

GW: It’s difficult, but I feel like it’s worth it because you want to set yourself up and position yourself for after your career is over with. And as early you can start, you position yourself for a lot of great success in the future. For me, I’ve tried to balance that from the beginning, even when I was a rookie, and I feel like it’s very important for most athletes to understand and have a good foundation of knowledge before they pursue it at deeper into their careers.

SS: Who’s your favorite athlete to watch in a different sport?

GW: Neymar in soccer.

SS: What’s the best investment you’ve made in the last year?

GW: Other than certain timepieces and Rolexes and watches of that sort, I would say putting money into some major companies.

SS: What’s the one thing you wish you’d invested in last year?

GW: There’s a lot of those. A lot of them were due to lack of funds — rookie contract — but there’s a lot of major companies that you see in the mainstream now that I could have had opportunies with; the smaller technological companies.

SS: If you could endorse any brand, what would be your dream partnership?

GW: It would more than likely be Chipotle.

SS: Outside of buying a car or a house, what’s the biggest purchase you’ve made?

GW: It’s all been on travel honestly. My destinations to Barcelona and Europe this summer will be the most expensive, and then [in]
terms of a single piece, artwork — pieces of art that I’ve acquired.

I’d definitely like to go check out Neymar, definitely going to go to Liverpool and connect with Virgil [van Dijk]. Definitely going to Chelsea as well to make sure I get to see both of those clubs, and then when I go to Barcelona. I’ll be able to see Camp Nou.

SS: With all the knowledge you’ve gained as an investor, is there anything that’s come across your desk that made you go, “what is this?”

GW: A lot of algorithmic trading. That’s probably the most difficult for me in terms of the technological world. Because my brother’s been in the cybersecurity space, he’s trying to educate me on the benefits of algorithmic trading.

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