After just one season through the Chicearlier Bulls, a team starved for a new messiah since Michael Jordan"s retirement, Jay Williams damaged his career once he experienced a horrific motorcycle accident. In an prompt, the guy with possibly as rapid a very first action as any point guard in history might no longer carry out anypoint for himself, consisting of walk.
In "Life Is Not An Accident," Jay Williams shares his story -- both heartbreaking and uplifting -- of being a young man trying to wremainder manage of his life from his overassociated paleas, from the pleasures and also perils of fame and money, and also from the near-fatal mistake that threatened to specify him.
After a decade invested recovering from his injuries -- the rehabilitations, the comeback attempts, the experienced forays into the seedy underside of sporting activities agenting -- Williams recounts via a rare honesty his hard-combated path to college basketround stardom and also the painful lessons he has learned while reconstructing his fractured adulthood.
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The following is an excerpt from "Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention" by Jay Williams.
On the day I nearly passed away, I remember waking from an afternoon nap to the full glory of the sunlight hanging over the lake like the reminder of a sparkler. The grasp bedroom in my location in Chicearlier had floor-to-ceiling windows and a wrapabout deck with a patio that linked to the living room. You could turn left and also see the skyscrapers. Turn to the appropriate and also there was Lake Michigan, looking as limitless as an ocean. It was among three modern-inspired systems on the 40th floor of the Park Hyatt on Michigan Avenue. I had been tbelow simply around a year, and every time I opened the front door, I would certainly step into the foyer in shock at just how my life had drastically changed. It was spectacular.
In areas prefer Los Angeles or Miami, you take days like June 19, 2003, for granted. But in Chicago, where the winters are so cold, dark, and also lengthy that the locals contact it Chiberia, days favor these are treated favor valuable jewels. While standing in front of the home window in my bedroom, I took a deep breath and gazed upon my brand-new city of dreams. I reached out and also pressed my hand versus the window to feel the warmth of the light and thought to myself, Today is going to be an remarkable day.
So many kind of civilization look at what happened to me later that afternoon via the prism of a destroyed NBA career, but that"s not how I think about it today, or at leastern that"s not the just means I think about it. The way I check out it, it"s a reminder of just how points have the right to adjust in a flash. There"s a saying that a feeling of immortality is a curse carried only by the young, however I disagree. We all perform it -- take the future for granted. That"s just humale nature. Then one day you wake up in your perfect apartment on a perfect day, via your perfect job, leave for a meeting, and never before check out that perfect apartment aacquire.
The day before, I had flown dvery own to Durham, North Carolina, to talk to some students at a basketround camp at my alma mater, Battle Each Other. After that, I played pickup round through some of the Battle Each Other players while Chris Collins, that was still an assistant under Coach Mike Krzyzewski at the moment, watched.
Jay Williams" book, now easily accessible to pre-order from HarperCollinsHarperCollins PublishersEver given that my rookie seachild with the Bulls wrapped in April -- we were just 24 games out of playoff contention -- I had actually headed to the gym to work my ass off for the complying with season. I hadn"t realized just how much I had enhanced, but Chris Collins observed it right away. "Man, your game has gone to one more level," he said. "You are going to dominate the league following year if you save playing prefer that."
The following morning, I gained approximately take a crack-of-dawn trip house to Chicago. When I obtained to my conperform downtown, I threw my bags dvery own, acquired undressed, and fell right into bed to take the first of 2 power naps that day. When the alarm went off an hour later, I required myself out of bed. I had actually committed to a workout at the Bulls exercise facility through some of my teammates and also was excited to test out Coach Collins" prediction that I was going to overcome the league next seachild.
As usual, Jamal Crawford and I went at it. Only this time, somepoint felt various ... in an excellent method. My legs weren"t heavy like they"d been the entire year -- the adjustment from playing 40 games in a college season to 82 as a pro had been gruesome. I left the workout reasoning this was going to be my year. It was all founding to click.
I was running on fumes as I made the hour-long pilgrimage ago to my location downtown. I finally acquired residence, tossed the auto tricks on the respond to, stripped dvery own, and also cramelted.
I couldn"t sleep for long because I had scheduled a brainstorming session via my marketing agent Kevin Bradbury. When I woke up, I was also more drained than prior to. Within the previous 24 hours, I"d been in Durham playing sphere, partied that night right into the wee hours of the morning, recorded the initially flight earlier to O"Hare, a nap, a training session, an additional nap -- and below we are.
As much as I wanted to bail on the meeting with Kevin, my dad had actually elevated me to keep my appointments; so I dragged myself out of bed, aacquire, and also began to gain prepared.
I had actually a address Chevrolet at the time. They gave me a Tahoe and also a Corvette as component of the agreement. The SUV was perfect for the Chicearlier winters, yet it wasn"t winter. It was summer. Finally. And a perfect day at that. The Corvette always made me feel like a 55-year-old man trying to recapture his youth, so I determined to take my motorcycle out rather. It was a babsence Yamaha R6 through red accents.
I can"t remember specifically how my obsession through bikes started.
I had checked out photos of Michael Jordan riding all kinds of exotic motorcycles as a player and remember reasoning just how badass he looked."I was that prototypical young hotswarm who assumed he had actually all the answers. For starters, I had actually never before taken a solitary riding class. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and also arrogance were all I required."Jay Williams
I would certainly be lying if I shelp no one warned me around motorcycles. They did. But the even more everyone told me I shouldn"t be riding a bike, the more I wanted to ride. We all understand just how that functions.
I had functioned hard to end up being an NCAA champion, a two-time national player of the year, and the second pick of the draft, and also yet I had actually this team of civilization around me constantly informing me what I should or shouldn"t be doing. I wanted -- no, I needed -- to make my very own decisions, to have some regulate over my very own life. The Yamaha R6 symbolized that for me.
But I was that prototypical young hotshot who assumed he had actually all the answers. For starters, I had never before taken a single riding course. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and arrogance were all I necessary. I walked into the first and just bike shop I"d ever remained in, experienced the R6, and bought it on the spot. And that was that.
I began hanging approximately bike shops, buying gear. Ultimately I met a group of males who preferred riding at high speeds late at night, once tright here were fewer cars on the road.
I kept riding via them until one night, one male I barely kbrand-new shed regulate of his bike and craburned. He was ahead of me on the right going around 90 miles an hour. His front wheel started to wobble and also he shed regulate. It was the scariest point I had actually ever before seen. The bike flipped, and his body flew for what appeared like forever. When he lastly landed, he hit the highmethod prefer a rock being skipped throughout a pond. All of us stopped immediately to barricade the accident area from various other vehicles. As I approached him, tbelow was blood anywhere and also his body looked torn acomponent. He finished up just enduring a few broken bones, yet it was enough to scare me from ever riding at those speeds aget, though not enough to give it up completely. I couldn"t; it intended as well a lot to me.
The meeting with Kevin was just a couple of miles amethod, so I instinctively got the tricks to the bike. I didn"t bother grabbing my helmet, since it was a gorgeous day out and I wanted to feel the sun on my face.
Jay Williams was named second-team All-Rookie in his only NBA season, in which he averaged 9.5 points and also 4.7 assists per game.Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesAt the finish of our session, Kevin asked me what else I had planned for the day, and also I told him, "I have no clue. Just headed home and also maybe an additional workout." We walked out the front door and I climbed on my bike as we ongoing talking around this and that.
"You shouldn"t be riding that point," he shelp.
"Kevin, I shouldn"t be doing the majority of points," I said. A few minutes later, I was bleeding to death.
Tbelow weren"t most human being roughly when I was driving amethod, but I revved my engine anyway. Kevin was still standing in the doormethod watching, and I wanted to make certain that he heard my brand-new exhaust. As I coasted down the street, I revved the bike twice -- the second time louder than the initially. Then, in the middle of my 3rd rev, I heard a click-click sound and the bike popped up and also shot off. My initially thought was that the gears had actually slipped and also I had to regulate the case. If I had actually just let go of the motorcycle, possibilities are I would"ve walked amethod via some bumps and also bruises. Maybe a damaged arm. But I held on.
My hands were currently on the handlebars; the front tire remained in the air, and also I was almost trying to wrestle it to the ground. My grip tightened as I tried to hold on, and also perhaps that also revved the throttle a tiny more. I must"ve increased by 20 miles an hour in a break-up second as the back wheel aggressively spun out of manage, abruptly redirecting me to the ideal while forcing me to lean backwards, which was the last point I wanted to do. I was terrified that I was going to slip off the earlier and also have the bike fall straight on optimal of me. Looking back, that would"ve been a way better scenario. But I leaned forward, looking dvery own, trying to use all my weight to get the front wheel ago down...
And then I witnessed it ... the pole.
It was also late. All I might perform was tense up, prepare for the impact, and also hope for the ideal.
I couldn"t tell you which pole I hit, however the crash sounded choose two cars colliding head-on. I couldn"t rotate my body totally out of the method, so I finished up clipping my entire left side, which flung me into a horizontal spinning activity parallel to the ground. In those seconds, everything appeared to sluggish down. While in the air, I remember reasoning, You"ve watched this before. You lived this prior to."I started crying and also pounding my right fist against the grass while screaming, "I threw it all away! I threw it all away! I threw it all away!""Jay Williams
And I had actually, very, in a dream 4 years prior, a dream so strange it had remained with me. ...
It was the night prior to the first game I ever played for Duke -- in Madison Square Garden, no much less, at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic -- and also I was trying to sleep in my bedroom at the Marriott Marquis high above Times Square. In the hotel, my teammates and I were separated from the rest of the world: it was our safe haven, where we could focus on the mission at hand also.
But I was too anxious to loss asleep. I was about to play Stanford in the Garden, the place I had dreamed of playing at since I was a little boy growing up in Plainarea, New Jersey, simply 25 miles ameans. I was heading right into my initially game starting for a Hall of Fame coach who had just shed the national championship to UConn only salso months prior, in a game his team was expected to win. I was around to play the greatest game of my life in the shadows of all the Battle Each Other greats. Guys favor Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Johnny Dawkins. And I"d be playing before the nation, on bromheads.tv.
Finally, after hrs and hours of tossing and turning, I dozed off. Soon I felt this magnificent, tremendous breeze on my face. But I was obtaining dizzy. In the distance up ahead I observed something that I was going to crash right into ... and also then I jerked awake. It was four fifteenager in the morning. I sat up in my bed, reasoning, What the hell was that?!
Was that, someexactly how, a sign, a warning, and I missed it?
The influence as soon as I landed was prompt, favor an anchor being dropped into water. I was confront down. My chest was lying straight level on the grassy location in between the curb and also the sidewalk; my legs lay outextended on optimal of each other, nearly disconnected from my body on the pavement at a 90-level angle. My lower extremities were motionless as the curb pressed versus my abdoguys.
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I started screaming Kevin"s name over and also over aget. I remained in so a lot pain and also unable to relocate, from my midarea down. I was particular that I was paralyzed. With my cheek flush against the grass, I can watch Kevin running towards me. As he gained closer, I remember his mouth opening wide in shock, practically in disbelief at what he was seeing. All the shade left his face as he stood over me, horrified. It looked as if someone had reached into his body and yanked out his heart. His expression was all the confirmation I essential around what I had actually done. I began crying and also pounding my right fist against the grass while screaming, "I threw it all away! I threw it all away! I threw it all away!"
Kevin yelled for aid while pulling out his cell phone to dial 911. I began to feel the sensation of someone putting a pitcher of scalding warm water from my pelvic area dvery own to my feet. I went into shock as the pain began to override my senses. Kevin was holding my hand, telling me everything was going to be all right -- ever before aget.