NBA veteran Lou Williams made headlines earlier this week for his trip outside of the Orlando bubble to attend his grandfather’s memorial service. While his departure from the bubble was newsworthy by itself, it only became front-page news when the LA Clippers guard made a detour to an Atlanta strip club because of his love for the establishment’s chicken wings.
As you might expect, the 15-year NBA veteran has received a torrent of teasing since the incident. When the NBA returned to action on Thursday night, Charles Barkley and the rest of the TNT crew couldn’t help themselves and jumped in on the action.
Lou Williams and his visit to a strip club
When Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams left the bubble in Orlando, the NBA recognized it as an excused absence as he was going to Atlanta to attend his grandfather’s memorial service. His absence became unexcused on Thursday night when Williams appeared in a social media post at an Atlanta strip club.
The 33-year-old Williams, when questioned by NBA officials, admitted he visited the Magic City strip club after the service. He indicated the quick trip to the club was only for the chicken wings, and it was his favorite restaurant in Atlanta. Not surprisingly, the league office wasn’t pleased with the veteran and the publicity snafu. It was precisely the scenario the league had been trying to avoid by creating the bubble at the Disney World resort in the first place.
As a result of his actions, Williams will miss at least the first two games of the NBA restart in quarantine for 10 days. More significantly, the misstep will cost Williams a couple of game checks, or approximately $150,000.
Others react to Williams and the chicken wings
When the Lou Williams side trip made the news, there was plenty of reaction, and it wasn’t limited to just NBA players. Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel took to Twitter to vouch for Williams and the top-quality chicken wings found at Magic City.
“Believe it or not, the chicken wings at Magic City are the best I’ve ever had,” Manziel wrote. Manziel, however, wasn’t the only one defending the Clippers player. Chris Kirschner, a reporter for The Athletic, made a special “investigative” reporting trip to the club in an attempt to find out for himself if the wings were as good as advertised.
Kirschner ordered the Lou Williams lemon pepper BBQ wings — yes, there is a type of wing named after the Clippers player — and he came away impressed.
“They had a perfect amount of crisp, not much breading to make it thick like fried chicken but enough to give the skin a crunchy texture. The meat inside was juicy and yet fully cooked,” Kirschner wrote. “It pulled right off the bone without much fight. And the sauce. Oh, the sauce. It had a combination of sweet and smoky, with the lemon pepper seasoning giving it some zing. The flavors just explode in your mouth.”
Charles Barkley gives Lou Williams new nicknames
While Lou Williams has had more than his share of defenders, NBA pundits on radio and television have mercilessly mocked him and his decision. During the pre-game “Inside the NBA” on TNT to open the broadcast of the NBA’s restart, Kenny Smith called out Williams.
“He tried to fool everybody, he’s going there for the wings. He really went there for the legs and the thighs,” Smith joked.
After the night’s worth of action concluded, and the Clippers minus Williams lost to LeBron James and the LA Lakers, Charles Barkley took his turn clowning Williams.
“But you did notice one thing when the Clippers got going, and they took Kawhi Leonard and Paul George out of the game, that’s when they really missed Chicken Wing Lou Williams,” Barkley laughed.
“Is that his new nickname, Chuck?” Shaquille O’Neal asked.
“Chicken Wing Williams,” Barkley said, then paused. “Sweet Lou Wings.”
It was a hilarious conclusion to a great night of basketball and the much-anticipated return of the NBA. It was a reminder of not only how much we’ve missed the games, but the comical commentary of the TNT crew that comes with it.