Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams took the unconventional stance — for an NBA player at least — of praising Utah as a better place to live and raise children than New York City.
“I’m not going to lie. I don’t really feel so much like a New Yorker,” Williams told Resident Magazine, a publication geared towards “affluent” and “savvy” Manhattanites.
The three-time All-Star compared the Big Apple, where he began playing for the Nets in 2011, to his life in smaller locales.
“I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like ‘yeah, go play in the sun.’ Here it’s more challenging,” said Williams.
Besides those types of freedoms, Williams compared education opportunities for his children.
“The process of getting them into school is a nightmare,” he said of New York. “Even private schools where you pay are an ordeal.”
“In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great,” said Williams, who has four children, including a young son with autism.
Williams did not expand on which qualities of Utah’s education system he thinks best New York City’s. Utah’s graduation rate sits at 81 percent while New York City’s is just over 61 percent.
But Utah is consistently at the bottom of the list for dollars spent per pupil. In 2013, Education Week ranked Utah 38th in the nation in education, though its relatively sparse per pupil funding was factored into the score. The state ranked 20th for “chances of success.”
While Williams did compliment parts of New York City, such as its TriBeCa district and its subway system, he said he preferred Utah’s slower pace.
“Truth is, we enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and going back to Utah every summer,” Williams added, noting Utah’s lesser traffic and smaller crowds.
“My daughters still have their friends there. There’s a big backyard. They go to the pool; the playground and they jump on the trampoline. Kids running wild and free here (in New York)…? I don’t think so.”
Williams’ contract with the Nets expires in 2017.