Boston Celtics center Robert Williams, AKA “Time Lord,” has become one of the NBA’s better defensive biggies over his first five seasons. However, many are still unfamiliar with why he has gone by the nickname Time Lord since his rookie season. Here, we take a look at the origins of the fan-favorite nickname.
After being drafted No. 27 by Boston in the 2018 NBA draft, Williams was scheduled for his introductory conference call with reporters. However, Williams overslept and missed the call as well as his flight to Boston. It probably wasn’t the start to his NBA career that he envisioned, but luckily for the big man, Celtics fans didn’t take it personally.
Instead, a die-hard Celtics fan named Ryan Hebert made the most of Williams’ mishap by coming up with a nickname for him - The Time Lord. The moniker then quickly caught on, starting with Celtics' Twitter and then into the mainstream media as well.
During an interview with Mass Live in 2018, Hebert broke down why he chose the nickname. He said that he had been scouting Williams as a potential Celtics draft prospect for two years and always knew he was going to be a Celtic eventually. So Hebert joked that Williams wasn’t actually late for his press conference but that he was instead operating on "a different timeline."
“So (we) started joking that he wasn’t late, he was operating on a different timeline concurrent to the one we are in, as evidenced by the fact that I knew he was a Celtic two years before he was a Celtic,” Hebert said.
“And we would do it with people taking themselves really seriously and they’d get very mad at us for thinking they were too uptight. So, from there he became a Time Lord, like the characters in Doctor Who whose time travel can tie together terrible holes in the plot of a shoddy script.”
Hebert then did his best to simplify his explanation of the nickname for those who were still confused:
“Basically, Time Lord boiled down to the prediction of drafting him in 2018 and also defending him against uptight people who were earnestly acting like they've never been late to work in their lives," Hebert said.
Hebert added that he and the rest of Celtics Twitter were rooting for Williams to be successful:
“Weird Celtics Twitter is a bizarre place, but we genuinely love the characters and personalities and people on the team,” Hebert said.
“We are online so much that we have to do absurd things to show people how stupid it is to say a mega-athlete with a savant-like feel for timing, blocks and passing is a bust because they missed a flight. We all love Robert and are pulling for him as a pro and as a person and this is our bizarre way of going about it.”
Robert Williams on his Time Lord nickname
Upon his Time Lord nickname catching on early in his rookie season, Robert Williams was very confused as to why everyone was calling him that:
“Instead of calling me ‘Robert,’ they call me ‘Time Lord.’ But I don't know where that sh*t came from,” Williams said.
However, the nickname has since grown on Williams as he now finds it fitting for his time-stopping blocked shots:
“So when I got drafted, I missed a press conference over the phone,” Williams told Sky Sports.
“And they start calling me Time Lord, like being late. But I got on the court playing and it was saying like, ‘Oh, he’s stopping time to go over there and block shots.’ So, I can’t hate on that, it was decent. I liked it. I’ve been rocking with Time Lord ever since.”