"Jason Williams: Live From The Orlando Rec, Downtown" Is The Mixtape The World Needs Now

A 39-year-old Jason Williams played some pickup ball at an Orlando-area rec center. Tales of the mixtape documenting the results will echo through the ages.

by Joseph Swide
Aug 20 2015, 6:35pm

"Wassup man. Jason Williams. Live from the Orlando Rec, downtown."

If you watch only the opening shot of Jason Williams sitting outside "the Orlando Rec, downtown," and saying, "Jason Williams, live from the Orlando Rec, downtown," then watching any more of the video seems almost unnecessary. The two seconds of Jason Williams saying "live from the Orlando Rec, downtown," in his West Virginia twang while sitting in front of a very "Orlando Rec, downtown"-style children's mosaic is already enough to visualize nearly everything that follows. And yet there is more here, much more. From start to finish, Jason Williams: Live From The Orlando Rec, Downtown is a truly perfect mixtape.

Jason Williams is not from Orlando. He grew up in Belle, West Virginia, where he famously played in high school with NFL star Randy Moss. He later played one season at the University of Florida, before being suspended multiple times for testing positive for marijuana; Sacramento made him the seventh overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft. While in the NBA, Williams came to Orlando in 2009 to join the Orlando Magic, who he played for until 2011. Whatever it was that brought him back there, this mixtape makes clear that Williams found a true place of belonging in Orlando, or more specifically, at "the Orlando Rec, downtown." What Live At The Apollo was to James Brown, Live At The Orlando Rec, Downtown is to Jason Williams. It's a perfect symbiosis of artist and place.

The video quickly blurs into a mesmerizing, impressionistic portrait of Jason Williams, as he does insane Jason Williams things, one after another. There are individual highlights, certainly, such as Williams throwing a no-look behind-the-back pass from half court while falling out of bounds to provide a teammate with an easy layup, or when he casually bounces the ball into the hoop without looking. It's a Jason Williams mixtape, and Jason Williams things happen in it.

But the experience of the video is about the flow, not the moments. There are no replays. Even the clip of the bounced-in no-look shot is quickly cut to the next highlight––the video editor acknowledges the insanity of the play about as little as Williams did. One of the few breaks in the stream of Jason Williams artistry is for Williams to shout "I did that for 13 years!" at a bunch of dudes who look like they could be found any weekend at "the Orlando Rec, downtown."

Some questions will arise while watching this video. Questions such as, why is Jason Williams, former NBA star, playing basketball at a rec center that shares space with the Orlando Pottery Studio and Parramore Kidz Zone? And who is the coach at the end who says that Williams could leave "the Orlando Rec, downtown," and go back to the NBA at age 40 and still play for a contender?

Also, what is Orlando Magic guard Elfrid Payton doing there?

And who is this lady?

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Or this lady just chilling with a baby?

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The answer, to all of those questions: "Jason Williams. Live From the Orlando Rec, downtown." Everything you need to know is there.