The only thing worse than Jay Williams’ rookie year in the NBA, was the next season—the one that never happened. The promising point guard out of Duke looked headed to stardom until a motorcycle crash ended his career and sent his life into a downward spiral of depression and addiction.
Williams, now a successful ESPN basketball analyst, has recounted the tumultuous times in a just-released book entitled, “Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention.”
The 34-year-old joined The Score’s “Spiegel & Goff” show on Friday to promote the book and talk about his time with the Bulls. The 35-minute interview was riveting.
At one point, Williams talked about the lack of discipline on the 2002-03 Bulls, who were led by Jalen Rose. Williams said Rose, who was making almost $13 million, not head coach Bill Cartwright, was really running the team.
Here’s what he told “Spiegel & Goff:”
“I don’t come from a world where you get on the plane after you lose a game by 20 and dudes are having 12-packs, guys are in the corner fading each other out, gambling, guy’s playing dice, and there’s over a thousand dollars on the floor. You know, I’m in debt to Jamal Crawford for 20 grand in the middle of the season. I’m like, ‘hold on a second.’ I’m betting Eddy Curry on three-point shots. Eddy’s like, ‘bet a thousand?’ I’m like, ‘Eddy, you are 6-11, bro. Like you don’t shoot threes.’ OK, [he] bet. And, then Eddy would write me a check when the game was over for like six or seven [thousand].
“I was so competitve, I wanted to win games but … I lost 13 games in my first three years in college. I lost 13 games in my first month in the league and it felt like nobody cared. So, eventually halfway through the season, I’m like “well, why the hell do I care?’ If they don’t care, why do I care. So, I got lost in that same … I became part of the problem, instead of part of the solution. I own it, man.”
Williams said there were a few players on the team who stayed after practice and did work hard, and one of them was Fred Hoiberg.
If the book is as good as the interview, it should sell some copies.