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Pat  Williams

Pat Williams

Co-Founder, NBA's Orlando Magic

Pat Williams

Co-Founder, NBA's Orlando Magic


Pat Williams is a basketball Hall-of-Famer, known for co-founding the NBA’s Orlando Magic as well as serving as general manager for the Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic. As one of America’s top motivational speakers, he has addressed thousands of executives in organizations ranging from Fortune 500 companies and national associations to universities and nonprofits. Clients include AllState, American Express, Cisco, Coca-Cola, Disney, Honeywell, IBM, ING, Lockheed Martin, Nike, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Tyson Foods to name a few. Pat is also the author of over 100 books, his most recent title highlighting the leadership secrets of the United States Military Academy at West Point in Character Carved in Stone.

Since 1968, Pat has been in the NBA as general manager for teams in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia — including the 1983 World Champion 76ers — and now the Orlando Magic, which he co-founded in 1987 and helped lead to the NBA finals in 1995 and 2009. In 1996, Pat was named as one of the 50 most influential people in NBA history by Beckett’s, a national publication. In 2012, Pat received the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Pat has been an integral part of NBA history, including bringing the NBA to Orlando. He has traded Pete Maravich as well as traded for Julius Erving, Moses Malone, and Penny Hardaway. He has won four NBA draft lotteries, including back-to-back winners in 1992 and 1993. He also drafted Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Darryl Dawkins. He signed Billy Cunningham, Chuck Daly, and Matt Guokas to their first professional coaching contracts. Nineteen of his former players have become NBA head coaches, nine have become college head coaches while seven have become assistant NBA coaches.

Additionally, Pat served for seven years in the United States Army, spent seven years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization — two as a minor league catcher and five in the front office — and has also spent three years in the Minnesota Twins organization.

Pat and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of 19 children, including 14 adopted from four nations, ranging in age from 30 to 44. For one year, 16 of his children were all teenagers at the same time. Currently, Pat has 20 grandchildren and counting. Pat and his family have been featured in Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Focus on the Family as well as all of the major network and cable television news channels.

Pat was diagnosed in February of 2011 with Multiple Myeloma. After several rounds of chemo treatments, Pat received a bone marrow transplant where the doctors injected him with almost 5 million of his own stem cells. Pat’s recovery from the stem cell transplant has been remarkable and the doctors are extremely pleased. While Multiple Myeloma is incurable the goal is to get the cancer into remission (Pat’s personal slogan has been “The Mission is Remission”); Pat’s doctors have told him that they are unable to detect any myeloma in his body and have given him a clean bill of health. Pat has accepted positions on several boards for different cancer groups, including an appointment on the Board of Directors for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Pat spends many hours each week responding to emails and phone calls of others affected by cancer, offering hope and words of encouragement.

Pat teaches an adult Sunday school class at First Baptist Church of Orlando and hosts three weekly radio shows. In the last 15 years, he has completed 58 marathons — most recently, the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon — and also climbed Mt. Rainier. He is a weightlifter, Civil War buff and serious baseball fan. Every winter he plays in Major League Fantasy Camps and has caught Hall of Famers Bob Feller, Bob Gibson, Fergie Jenkins, Rollie Fingers, Gaylord Perry, Phil Niekro, Tom Seaver and Goose Gossage.

Pat was raised in Wilmington, Delaware, earned his bachelor’s degree at Wake Forest University, and his master’s degree at Indiana University. He is a member of the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame after catching for the Deacon baseball team, including the 1962 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship team. He is also a member of nine other hall of fames around the country.

Speaker Videos

Greatness Through Passion

Speech Topics

Leadership Excellence

A lifetime of executive leadership experience gives Pat Williams a special platform to share how to create winning cultures in your organizations – and yourself. Pat outlines practical and proven strategies for immediately increasing leadership impact. In this thought-provoking speech, Pat details the seven keys to leadership and teaches how to be a more effective leader. Pat’s humorous anecdotes and unique leadership philosophy makes for a can’t-miss address. Learn how to customize a personal strategy, communicate effectively with your employees and ultimately make profitable decisions.

The Magic of Teamwork

When you see his diamond-encrusted NBA Championship ring, you understand that Pat is a master at building successful teams. In this presentation, Pat offers proven principles grounded in his experience building sports teams for over 50 years. Discover how to attract top talent, manage diverse egos and develop team chemistry to create a successful organization. Filled with explicit advice illustrated by entertaining stories, you can leave with the knowledge of how to create an organization that will produce better results while working more cohesively.

Walt Disney’s Five Secrets to Success

Walt Disney captures the imagination and attention like few others. His story of creativity, perseverance and success resonates and inspires as much today as it ever has. Based on research for his biographical Walt Disney book, Pat relays never-before-heard Walt stories with pragmatic principles for exceeding business goals. Pat inspires and ignites the imagination as he takes the audience on a journey of Walt’s five secrets to a magical, miraculous way of life.

Extreme Winning

How have “The Greats” achieved such extraordinary success? How can you achieve the same results? In this speech, Pat discusses the qualities that the winners in life possess. Based on over 50 years in professional sports working with world-class athletes and coaches, Pat will teach you the secrets to becoming a more focused person, finding passion in your work and succeeding in the most competitive environments. After hearing this presentation, you will have the confidence and knowledge to attack your biggest challenges and WIN!

The Ten Keys to Creating a World-Class Organization

Customer service is the lifeblood of every successful organization. In a fascinating seminar developed in the ultra-competitive crucible of entertainment sales and marketing, Pat provides the components to creating a customer-centric culture.  This fast-moving series of strategies and tactics offers the practical steps that can transform any organization into a world-class organization.  As one of Pat’s most requested talks, these keys can be used by anyone to not only take their business to the top but also keep it at the top.

The Mission is Remission

As one of the millions of people diagnosed with cancer, basketball hall-of-famer Pat Williams first asked “Why me?” After calling on his faith, his family and his fighting spirit, he responded, “Why not me?” Williams’ mantra became "The mission is remission." After rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell treatment, he succeeded in the fight of his life.

In his touching and inspiring talk, Williams shares his story and the six essential healing factors that helped him win his battle. With pragmatic and motivating tips, plus advice from other cancer survivors, The Mission Is Remission is an empowering presentation for anyone – including care-givers – facing a cancer diagnosis.