After just one seakid through the Chicago Bulls, a team starved for a new messiah because Michael Jordan"s retirement, Jay Williams ruined his career once he suffered a horrific motorcycle accident. In an immediate, the man with probably as rapid an initial step as any kind of allude guard in background can no longer carry out anything for himself, consisting of walk.
In "Life Is Not An Accident," Jay Williams shares his story -- both heartbreaking and also uplifting -- of being a young male trying to wrest control of his life from his overinvolved parental fees, from the pleasures and also dangers of fame and also money, and from the near-fatal mistake that threatened to define him.
After a decade invested respanning from his injuries -- the rehabilitations, the comeback attempts, the experienced forays into the seedy underside of sporting activities agenting -- Williams recounts with a rare honesty his hard-battled route to college basketround stardom and also the painful lessons he has actually learned while recreating his fractured adulthood.
You are watching: Life is not an accident: a memoir of reinvention
The complying with is an excerpt from "Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention" by Jay Williams.
On the day I practically passed away, I remember waking from an afternoon nap to the full glory of the sunlight hanging over the lake choose the tip of a sparkler. The understand bedroom in my place in Chicback had actually floor-to-ceiling home windows and a wrapapproximately deck through a patio that associated to the living room. You could revolve left and also check out the skyscrapers. Turn to the appropriate and also tright here was Lake Michigan, looking as boundless as an sea. It was among 3 modern-influenced devices on the 40th floor of the Park Hyatt on Michigan Avenue. I had been tright here simply about a year, and also every time I opened up the front door, I would certainly step right into the foyer in shock at just how my life had actually dramatically changed. It was spectacular.
In areas choose Los Angeles or Miami, you take days choose June 19, 2003, for granted. But in Chicago, wbelow the winters are so cold, dark, and also lengthy that the locals contact it Chiberia, days like 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 new city of dreams. I reached out and pressed my hand versus the home window to feel the warmth of the light and thmust myself, Today is going to be an remarkable day.
So many world look at what taken place to me later that afternoon via the prism of a destroyed NBA career, however that"s not exactly how I think around it now, or at leastern that"s not the only way I think about it. The method I view it, it"s a reminder of exactly how things deserve to readjust in a flash. There"s a saying that a feeling of immortality is a curse lugged only by the young, however I disagree. We all do it -- take the future for granted. That"s just humale nature. Then at some point you wake up in your perfect apartment on a perfect day, with your perfect job, leave for a meeting, and also never before check out that perfect apartment aobtain.
The day before, I had actually flvery own dvery own to Durham, North Carolina, to talk to some students at a basketball camp at my alma mater, Duke. Later on, I played pickup sphere with 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, currently obtainable to pre-order from HarperCollinsHarperCollins PublishersEver given that my rookie seakid through the Bulls wrapped in April -- we were just 24 games out of playoff contention -- I had headed to the gym to work my ass off for the adhering to season. I hadn"t realized how much I had enhanced, but Chris Collins saw it ideal amethod. "Man, your game has gone to another level," he shelp. "You are going to conquer the league following year if you save playing favor that."
The next morning, I obtained approximately take a crack-of-dawn flight home to Chicago. When I gained to my condo downtown, I threw my bags down, obtained undressed, and fell right right into bed to take the first of two power naps that day. When the alarm went off an hour later, I forced myself out of bed. I had actually committed to a workout at the Bulls practice facility through some of my teammates and was excited to test out Coach Collins" prediction that I was going to overcome the league next seaboy.
As usual, Jamal Crawford and also I went at it. Only this time, something felt various ... in an excellent means. My legs weren"t hefty favor they"d been the entire year -- the adjustment from playing 40 games in a college seachild to 82 as a pro had actually 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 expedition ago to my area downtvery own. I finally got house, tossed the automobile secrets on the respond to, stripped dvery own, and also craburned.
I couldn"t sleep for lengthy because I had actually booked a brainstorming session through my marketing agent Kevin Bradbury. When I woke up, I was even even more drained than prior to. Within the past 24 hrs, I"d been in Durham playing sphere, partied that night into the wee hours of the morning, captured the initially trip 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 via Kevin, my dad had actually increased me to keep my appointments; so I dragged myself out of bed, aobtain, and started to gain ready.
I had actually a deal with Chevrolet at the time. They gave me a Tahoe and a Corvette as part of the agreement. The SUV was perfect for the Chicearlier winters, however it wasn"t winter. It was summer. Finally. And a perfect day at that. The Corvette always made me feel choose a 55-year-old male trying to recapture his youth, so I chose to take my motorcycle out rather. It was a babsence Yamaha R6 through red accents.
I can not remember precisely just how my obsession with bikes began.
I had checked out photos of Michael Jordan riding all kinds of exotic motorcycles as a player and remember thinking exactly how badass he looked."I was that prototypical young hotshot that thought he had all the answers. For starters, I had actually never before taken a single riding course. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and also arrogance were all I necessary."Jay Williams
I would certainly be lying if I sassist no one warned me about 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 how that functions.
I had operated difficult to come to be an NCAA champion, a two-time national player of the year, and also the second pick of the draft, and yet I had actually this team of civilization roughly me always informing me what I need to or shouldn"t be doing. I wanted -- no, I necessary -- to make my very own decisions, to have some manage over my own life. The Yamaha R6 symbolized that for me.
But I was that prototypical young hotshot who believed he had actually all the answers. For starters, I had actually never taken a single riding course. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and arrogance were all I needed. I walked into the first and just bike shop I"d ever been in, observed the R6, and bought it on the spot. And that was that.
I began hanging around bike shops, buying equipment. At some point I met a team of men who favored riding at high speeds late at night, when tright here were fewer cars on the road.
I maintained riding with them until one night, one guy I barely knew shed control of his bike and also cramelted. He was ahead of me on the appropriate going about 90 miles an hour. His front wheel began to wobble and he lost control. It was the scariest thing I had ever watched. The bike flipped, and his body flew for what seemed choose forever. When he ultimately landed, he hit the highmeans favor a rock being skipped across a pond. All of us stopped immediately to barricade the accident location from various other vehicles. As I approached him, tbelow was blood anywhere and his body looked torn acomponent. He ended up just experiencing a couple of broken bones, however it was enough to scare me from ever riding at those speeds again, though not enough to provide it up totally. I couldn"t; it intended also much to me.
The meeting through Kevin was only a couple of miles ameans, so I instinctively got the keys to the bike. I didn"t bvarious other grabbing my helmet, because it was a gorgeous day out and I wanted to feel the sunlight on my challenge.
Jay Williams was named second-team All-Rookie in his just NBA seakid, in which he averaged 9.5 points and 4.7 assists per game.Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesAt the end of our session, Kevin asked me what else I had actually planned for the day, and also I told him, "I have actually no clue. Just headed residence and also maybe another workout." We walked out the front door and also I climbed on my bike as we ongoing talking about this and that.
"You shouldn"t be riding that point," he shelp.
"Kevin, I shouldn"t be doing a lot of points," I sassist. A few minutes later, I was bleeding to death.
Tright here weren"t the majority of human being approximately when I was driving amethod, however I revved my engine anymeans. Kevin was still standing in the doormethod watching, and also I wanted to make sure 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 also the bike popped up and swarm off. My initially believed was that the gears had slipped and also I had actually to control the instance. If I had just let go of the motorcycle, chances are I would"ve walked away through some bumps and bruises. Maybe a damaged arm. But I hosted on.
My hands were already on the handlebars; the front tire was in the air, and also I was nearly trying to wrestle it to the ground. My grip tightened as I tried to organize on, and probably that also revved the throttle a tiny more. I must"ve accelerated by 20 miles an hour in a break-up second as the earlier wheel aggressively spun out of manage, abruptly redirecting me to the ideal while forcing me to lean backwards, which was the last thing I wanted to execute. I was terrified that I was going to slip off the ago and have actually the bike loss directly on top of me. Looking back, that would"ve been a means much better scenario. But I leaned forward, looking down, trying to use all my weight to gain the front wheel earlier down...
And then I witnessed it ... the pole.
It was too late. All I might do was tense up, prepare for the affect, and also hope for the best.
I couldn"t tell you which pole I hit, yet the crash sounded like two cars colliding head-on. I couldn"t rotate my body entirely out of the method, so I ended up clipping my entire left side, which flung me into a horizontal spinning motion parallel to the ground. In those seconds, whatever seemed to slow dvery own. While in the air, I remember reasoning, You"ve checked out this before. You lived this prior to."I started crying and also pounding my best 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, extremely, in a dream 4 years prior, a dream so stvariety it had stayed with me. ...
It was the night before the initially game I ever before played for Fight It Out -- in Madiboy Square Garden, no much less, at the Coaches vs. Cancer Standard -- and also I was trying to sleep in my bedroom at the Marriott Marquis high above Times Square. In the hotel, my teammates and also I were separated from the rest of the world: it was our safe haven, wright here we could emphasis on the mission at hand also.
But I was also anxious to loss asleep. I was around to play Stanford in the Garden, the area I had dreamed of playing at because I was a tiny boy thriving up in Plainarea, New Jersey, just 25 miles amethod. I was heading into my first game founding for a Hevery one of Fame coach who had actually just shed the nationwide championship to UConn just seven months prior, in a game his team was meant to win. I was about to play the biggest game of my life in the shadows of all the Fight It Out greats. Guys like Grant Hill, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Johnny Dawkins. And I"d be playing prior to the nation, on lutz-heilmann.info.
Finally, after hours and also hours of tossing and turning, I dozed off. Soon I felt this magnificent, significant breeze on my challenge. But I was getting dizzy. In the distance up ahead I saw something that I was going to crash into ... and then I jerked awake. It was four fifteenager in the morning. I sat up in my bed, thinking, What the hell was that?!
Was that, somehow, a sign, a warning, and I missed it?
The influence once I landed was instant, like an anchor being dropped into water. I was challenge down. My chest was lying straight level on the grassy location between the curb and the sidewalk; my legs lay outstretched on height of each other, virtually dislinked from my body on the pavement at a 90-degree angle. My reduced extremities were motionless as the curb pressed versus my abdoguys.
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I began screaming Kevin"s name over and over aget. I remained in so a lot pain and unable to move, from my midarea down. I was specific that I was paralyzed. With my cheek flush against the grass, I might view Kevin running toward me. As he gained closer, I remember his mouth opening wide in shock, almost in disidea at what he was seeing. All the shade left his confront as he stood over me, horrified. It looked as if someone had actually reached right into his body and also yanked out his spirit. His expression was all the confirmation I essential about what I had actually done. I started crying and also pounding my appropriate fist versus 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 hot water from my pelvic location down to my feet. I went into shock as the pain began to override my senses. Kevin was holding my hand, informing me everything was going to be all right -- ever before aget.