The wire

Baltimore Ravens Pay Tribute To Michael K. Williams with Omar’s Whistle from ‘The Wire’

The Baltimore Ravens did the best sort of tribute to the memory of Michael K Williams.

As the team opened its game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the speakers played someone whistling. That someone was Omar Little from The Wire, one of Williams’ best-known roles. The HBO series was set in some of the grittiest areas of Baltimore. Omar, wearing a duster and carrying a shotgun, would whistle The Farmer in the Dell to let people know he was coming. It wasn’t meant as a pleasant children’s song, either.

The Baltimore Ravens social media account tweeted a video clip of the salute. You can make out the whistling. But the crowd at M&T Stadium cheered so loudly you could barely hear Williams’ whistle.

The Ravens wrote “For Omar.” The clip went viral, with more than 200,000 views in less than an hour.

Michael K Williams died Sept. 7 of a reported suspected heroin overdose. Police discovered his body at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. A friend called them to do a wellness check on Williams, since he hadn’t been seen in several days. Throughout his career, Williams talked openly about his addictions. He played some tough, multi-dimensional roles. And sometimes he’d lose himself so much in playing them, he’d turn to drugs.

Williams lived in Baltimore when filming the wire and was part of the community. So the professional teams, like the Baltimore Ravens, returned the love.

Baltimore Ravens Weren’t Only Local Sports Team to Honor Williams

Earlier this month, the Baltimore Orioles paid their respect to Williams. When Baltimore’s Austin Hays hit a homerun, Orioles announcer Kevin Brown used a classic Omar line.

“If you come at the king,” Brown said, “you best not miss.”

Given how much Williams was known for that iconic whistle, it seems strange that he couldn’t actually do it in real life. The Wire used an actor named Susan, who was an assistant to John Waters. The actor/director is a famous Baltimore resident who loved The Wire.

The Brooklyn Nets also may do something similar. Seven years ago, Williams attended a Nets game and got to introduce the players. He whistled on his way to the court.

Fans of the Baltimore Ravens loved the whistling intro to honor Williams’ memory.

“That’s a very classy tribute to Michael K. Williams by the Ravens,” one wrote.

Another said: “From a steeler fan… that is badass.”

“That’s the coolest thing that’s happened in sport. Ever.”

Other fans of the Baltimore Ravens asked for it to be a permanent addition to pre-game. “Should do that for every home game….eery shit.” Another said: “Chills, the hairs on my arm rose!! So awesome.”

Then, Baltimore Ravens fans posted video clips of Williams as Omar. It definitely was the right touch.

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