John Williams's Keep-'Em-Happy-Meal Diet obeys strict orders. He finishes this order. He eats that order. He starts on your order.
That's said to be the number where John "Well, I Guess I Could Have One More Portion" Williams topped out in July: 306.
If Rickey Henderson goes into a slump, 306 could put Williams in contention for the AL batting title. He certainly has enough plate appearances.
"Post him up? I thought you said toast him up."
The Bullets always felt John "Mmmm, That Pie Looks Terrific" Williams was a versatile player, but little did they suspect he would lead the league in three categories: breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Of course he didn't go to rehab. He was too busy eating.
Sure, Bo Knows Baseball.
But John Knows Drive-Thru.
John Knows All You Can Eat.
Seriously, what is this guy thinking? How could he let himself get up over 300 pounds? This is the NBA, not the Sumo Federation.
Abe Pollin's concerned. He's on his way to L.A. with a bucket of Ultra Slim Fast.
Maybe Williams will sue the Bullets to recover his salary. I don't think it would be too hard to be the Bullets' lawyer.
"Is the defense ready?"
"Yes. The defense calls John 'More Park's Sausages, Mom' Williams."
"I swear to tell the truth, the whole . . . "
"That won't be necessary, John. You won't be doing any talking."
"No. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the defense presents Exhibit A: Take off your shirt, John."
The jury gasps.
"The defense rests."
Last week, Williams got word to the Bullets he weighed 290. Even so, that's still 30 pounds over where doctors want Williams to be before he begins seriously testing that injured knee. Eventually, they want him to put weight on his knee, I guess he took them literally.
Surely, there's a legitimate explanation why Williams hasn't gone to rehab. Maybe he was "procrastinating." Or maybe he thought another family member would do the rehabilitation for him. (That's going around now. Eleanor Holmes Norton laid the whole tax dodge off on her husband, Ed "Hey, hey, Ralphie boy" Norton. She said he's in charge of taxes, she never gets involved -- she just signs stuff, and never speaks of it again. What? No! You say good old Ed didn't actually pay their D.C. taxes for eight straight years? Well then, Eleanor's only possible explanation is that Ed was procrastinating. "Honey, I was on my way to the mailbox with the taxes, but I, uh, I didn't get there. I think the dog ate the mailbox." Pretty odd, isn't it, a professor of law not paying her taxes? We get busy in our house, and we don't have time for a lot of conversation, but amazingly, every year we find time to ask, "Have we paid our taxes?" It reminds me of Steve Martin's "You Can Be A Millionaire And Never Pay Taxes." First, get a million dollars. Then, don't pay taxes. If they catch you . . . two simple words, "I forgot.")
The Bullets have heard a lot about Williams -- but they haven't actually heard from him. "We can't reach him," General Manager John Nash said. "We have no address for him, he doesn't return our calls. We think he's in L.A."
How tough could he be to find? It's not like he's going incognito as one of the Seven Dwarfs in Disneyland. So you stake out the diners, and look for a guy ordering the entire right side of the menu. Or you patrol the fast-food joints, and show his picture to the cooks. "Oh yeah, sure, he's in here every night. If a customer says, 'I'm buying,' he says, 'I'm eating.' He's at Carl's Jr. until last call, then he goes to the 24-hour Fatburger. I have a friend at Domino's who says when Mr. Williams calls, he insists on picking up the pizzas himself; he can't wait the 30 minutes."
The Bullets are hoping Williams will get in shape to play this season. "I'm not out to win any macho award," Nash said. He doesn't want Williams's money -- he wants Williams. "At his best," Nash said, "John is one of the top 20 players in our league." But at 290 or 300 the only thing he can dunk is doughnuts.
Williams's behavior is baffling. You might chalk up his lack of self-discipline to immaturity; he's just 23. But he's in the process of tossing away a fortune. The other John Williams -- Hot Rod Williams -- just signed a contract for $26 million. If this John Williams -- Big Bod Williams -- gets in shape and plays to his potential, when he becomes a free agent in 1993, he could sign a contract easily worth $25 million. Think of how many creme-filled doughnuts that can buy.
The money is out there. What he has to do is rehabilitate his knee, and the less he weighs, the better it will be for rehabilitation. This is easy. This is 2 plus 2. You put 300 pounds on a tender knee, you're asking it to collapse.
Overweight is an annual condition for Williams. He should play at 235. The Bullets have indulged him because he's the best player they had. It's funny, we thought John Williams was the Bullets' No. 1 draft choice. It turns out, at 300, he's the No. 1 and No. 2 choice.
When Nash was the GM at Philly, Charles Barkley played at 270 pounds. "We appealed to his financial acumen," Nash recalled. "We told him he could extend his career and avoid serious injury by taking off some weight, and he responded positively. The same with Ricky Mahorn."
You look at the people who stay around the longest, like Bernard King, Mo Cheeks and Adrian Dantley. Besides ability, what they have in common is conditioning. John Williams has the ability. If he trades it for a bowl of porridge, he's making a terrible deal.