Santiago 2023’s Stars: Jake Williams, a Goal Scorer of Distinction

The American once again led his team to a new Parapan American title, the third he celebrates, in addition to two Paralympic golds and a world championship crown.

Sunday, November 26th, 2023.- The United States didn't struggle much to secure its sixth Parapan American wheelchair basketball gold at Santiago 2023. The team won all six games it played, and except for Colombia in the closing of the group stage, no one posed any complications in the final when they faced each other. 

The North American quintet scored 486 points, with almost 25 percent of them coming from the skilled hands of Jacob "Jake" Williams, the tournament's top scorer with 114 points and an average of 19 per game. 

Williams also stood out as the fifth-best shooting percentage (50%) and for his passing ability, with 37 assists (4.5 per game), placing him in the top 10 for that stat. 

This is the third Parapan American gold medal for the player born in Milwaukee, who previously celebrated at Toronto 2015 and Lima 2019. His successes with Team USA go beyond the continental event, as he also holds two Paralympic titles (Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020) and a world championship (Dubai 2022), as well as a runner-up finish (Hamburg 2018). 

Williams began wheelchair basketball in 2008 after being recruited by a Milwaukee player who met him during the rehabilitation process he underwent after being hit by a vehicle while cycling to his job as a lifeguard, damaging his spinal cord. 

Next year, with qualification for Paris 2024 secured after winning at Santiago 2023, Williams is already preparing to compete for another Paralympic medal – quite an achievement for a Para basketball player who once considered himself merely a good player before the titles. 

Written by Felipe Hurtado; translated by Rocio Rojas / Santiago 2023 via Photosport 
Photo by Sebastián Nanco / Santiago 2023 via Photosport