After just one season through the Chicago Bulls, a team starved because that a new messiah due to the fact that Michael Jordan"s retirement, Jay Williams ruined his career when he endured a horrific motorcycle accident. In one instant, the male with perhaps as fast a first step as any point guard in history could no longer do anything for himself, consisting of walk.
In "Life Is no An Accident," Jay Williams share his story -- both heartbreaking and also uplifting -- of being a young male trying come wrest manage of his life from his overinvolved parents, indigenous the pleasures and also perils the fame and also money, and also from the near-fatal wrong that endangered to define him.
After a decade invested recovering from his injuries -- the rehabilitations, the comeback attempts, the experienced forays into the seedy underside of sports agenting -- Williams recounts v a rarely honesty his hard-fought course to college basketball stardom and also the ache lessons he has actually learned when reconstructing his broken adulthood.
You are watching: Life is not an accident a memoir of reinvention
The complying with is one excerpt from "Life Is not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention" by Jay Williams.
On the day I virtually died, i remember waking from an afternoon nap to the full glory of the sun hanging over the lake favor the guideline of a sparkler. The master bedroom in my location in Chicago had actually floor-to-ceiling windows and a wraparound deck with a patio that linked to the living room. You can turn left and see the skyscrapers. Turn to the right and also there to be Lake Michigan, feather as limitless as one ocean. It was among three modern-inspired units on the 40th floor of the Park Hyatt ~ above Michigan Avenue. I had been there just around a year, and every time I opened up the former door, I would step right into the foyer in shock at exactly how my life had considerably changed. It was spectacular.
In places like Los Angeles or Miami, you take days choose June 19, 2003, for granted. Yet in Chicago, wherein the winters room so cold, dark, and also long the the locals contact it Chiberia, days prefer these space treated like priceless jewels. If standing in prior of the home window in my bedroom, i took a deep breath and gazed upon my brand-new city the dreams. I reached out and also pressed my hand versus the home window to feeling the warmth of the light and also thought come myself, this day is walk to be an remarkable day.
So many civilization look in ~ what occurred to me later that afternoon v the prism that a destroyed NBA career, however that"s not exactly how I think about it today, or at least that"s no the only way I think about it. The method I see it, it"s a reminder of exactly how things can change in a flash. There"s a saying that a sense of immortality is a curse lugged only by the young, yet I disagree. Us all perform it -- take it the future for granted. That"s just person nature. Then sooner or later you wake up up in her perfect apartment on a perfect day, with your perfect job, leaving for a meeting, and never check out that perfect apartment again.
The work before, I had actually flown under to Durham, phibìc Carolina, to speak to some students in ~ a basketball camp in ~ my alma mater, Duke. Afterwards, i played pickup ball with several of the fight it out players while chris Collins, that was quiet an assistant under Coach Mike Krzyzewski at the time, watched.
Jay Williams" book, now available to pre-order from HarperCollinsHarperCollins PublishersEver since my rookie season through the Bulls sheathe in April -- us were only 24 gamings out that playoff contention -- I had actually headed to the gym to job-related my ass turn off for the following season. Ns hadn"t realized exactly how much I had actually improved, but Chris Collins saw it best away. "Man, your video game has unable to do to an additional level," that said. "You are going to dominate the league next year if you keep playing prefer that."
The next morning, I got up to take a crack-of-dawn trip home come Chicago. Once I gained to mine condo downtown, i threw my bags down, acquired undressed, and also fell right right into bed to take it the an initial of two power naps that day. Once the alarm went off an hour later, I compelled myself the end of bed. I had committed to a workout in ~ the Bulls exercise facility with some of my teammates and also was excited come test the end Coach Collins" prediction that ns was going to dominate the organization next season.
As usual, Jamal Crawford and also I went in ~ it. Just this time, other felt various ... In a good way. My legs weren"t hefty like they"d been the entire year -- the mediate from play 40 gamings in a university season come 82 together a pro had actually been gruesome. I left the workout thinking this was going to be my year. It to be all beginning to click.
I was to run on fumes together I made the hour-long trip back to my place downtown. I lastly got home, tossed the vehicle keys top top the counter, stripped down, and also crashed.
I couldn"t sleep because that long due to the fact that I had scheduled a brainstorming session through my marketing certified dealer Kevin Bradbury. Once I woke up, i was even much more drained than before. In ~ the previous 24 hours, I"d been in Durham play ball, partied the night right into the wee hours of the morning, caught the very first flight back to O"Hare, a nap, a training session, another nap -- and also here we are.
As lot as I wanted to bail top top the meeting v Kevin, mine dad had raised me to store my appointments; so ns dragged myself the end of bed, again, and also started to get ready.
I had a deal with Chevrolet in ~ the time. They gave me a Tahoe and a Corvette as component of the agreement. The SUV to be perfect because that the Chicago winters, however it wasn"t winter. It to be summer. Finally. And a perfect day at that. The Corvette always made me feel like a 55-year-old man trying come recapture his youth, therefore I made decision to take my motorcycle out instead. It was a black Yamaha R6 with red accents.
I can"t remember specifically how my obsession v bikes began.
I had seen picture of Michael Jordan riding all kinds the exotic motorcycles together a player and also remember thinking how badass that looked."I was the prototypical young hotshot who thought he had actually all the answers. Because that starters, I had never take away a solitary riding class. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and arrogance to be all ns needed."Jay Williams
I would certainly be lied if I stated no one warned me about motorcycles. Castle did. Yet the more everyone told me ns shouldn"t it is in riding a bike, the an ext I want to ride. We all know how that works.
I had operated hard to become an NCAA champion, a two-time nationwide player the the year, and the second pick that the draft, and yet I had this team of people about me constantly telling me what I must or shouldn"t it is in doing. I wanted -- no, I necessary -- to make my very own decisions, to have actually some regulate over my own life. The Yamaha R6 symbolized that for me.
But i was that prototypical young hotshot who assumed he had all the answers. Because that starters, I had actually never bring away a solitary riding class. Motorcycle license? What for? Money and also arrogance were all i needed. I walked right into the very first and only bike shop I"d ever before been in, experienced the R6, and also bought it on the spot. And that was that.
I started hanging approximately bike shops, purchase gear. Eventually I met a group of men who liked riding in ~ high speeds so late at night, once there to be fewer car on the road.
I preserved riding v them till one night, one man I barely knew lost control of his bike and crashed. He to be ahead the me on the right going about 90 mile an hour. His prior wheel started to wobble and also he shed control. It was the scariest thing I had ever before seen. The cycle flipped, and his body flew for what seemed like forever. As soon as he lastly landed, he hit the highway like a rock being skipped across a pond. All of us stopped immediately to barricade the accident area from other vehicles. Together I approached him, there to be blood everywhere and his body looked take it apart. He ended up only suffering a few broken bones, however it was enough to scare me from ever before riding at those speeds again, though not enough to give it increase entirely. I couldn"t; it meant too much to me.
The meeting through Kevin was just a pair of mile away, so i instinctively got the tricks to the bike. Ns didn"t stroked nerves grabbing mine helmet, because it was a gorgeous job out and also I wanted to feeling the sun on mine face.
Jay Williams was named second-team All-Rookie in his just NBA season, in i m sorry he average 9.5 points and 4.7 assists per game.Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty ImagesAt the finish of ours session, Kevin asked me what rather I had actually planned for the day, and also I told him, "I have actually no clue. Just headed home and maybe an additional workout." we walked the end the former door and also I climbed on my bike together we ongoing talking around this and also that.
"You shouldn"t be riding that thing," that said.
"Kevin, i shouldn"t it is in doing a the majority of things," i said. A few minutes later, i was bleeding to death.
There weren"t a most people about when ns was control away, however I revved mine engine anyway. Kevin to be still stand in the doorway watching, and also I wanted to make certain that he heard my brand-new exhaust. Together I coasted down the street, ns revved the bike twice -- the second time louder than the first. Then, in the center of my 3rd rev, ns heard a click-click sound and also the bicycle popped up and also shot off. My very first thought was that the gears had slipped and also I had to regulate the situation. If I had just let go of the motorcycle, possibilities are i would"ve walked away v some bumps and bruises. Possibly a damaged arm. But I hosted on.
My hands were already on the handlebars; the prior tire was in the air, and also I was nearly trying to wrestle it to the ground. Mine grip tightened as I tried to hold on, and maybe that even revved the throttle a tiny more. I must"ve accelerated by 20 mile an hour in a split second as the back wheel aggressively spun the end of control, abruptly redirecting me come the ideal while forcing me to skinny backwards, which was the last point I want to do. Ns was terrified that i was going come slip off the ago and have the bike fall straight on peak of me. Looking back, that would"ve been a way far better scenario. Yet I leaned forward, spring down, trying to use all my load to obtain the prior wheel back down...
And then I experienced it ... The pole.
It was also late. All I can do to be tense up, prepare because that the impact, and hope because that the best.
I couldn"t tell girlfriend which pole ns hit, but the crash sounded like two cars colliding head-on. Ns couldn"t revolve my body completely out of the way, therefore I ended up snipping my whole left side, i beg your pardon flung me right into a horizontal spinning motion parallel come the ground. In those seconds, whatever seemed to sluggish down. If in the air, ns remember thinking, You"ve watched this before. You lived this before."I started crying and also pounding my best fist against the grass while screaming, "I threw it all away! ns threw it all away! i threw it all away!""Jay Williams
And i had, incredibly, in a dream 4 years prior, a dream therefore strange it had stayed through me. ...
It to be the night before the first game I ever played for fight it out -- in Madison Square Garden, no less, in ~ the Coaches vs. Cancer classic -- and also I was trying come sleep in mine bedroom at the Marriott Marquis high above Times Square. In the hotel, my teammates and also I to be separated from the rest of the world: it to be our safe haven, whereby we can focus on the mission in ~ hand.
But i was also anxious to autumn asleep. Ns was around to play Stanford in the Garden, the location I had actually dreamed of playing at because I was a small boy farming up in Plainfield, new Jersey, just 25 mile away. I was heading into my an initial game beginning for a room of call coach who had just shed the nationwide championship come UConn only seven months prior, in a game his team was intended to win. Ns was about to play the biggest game of mine life in the shadows of all the battle each other greats. Men like give Hill, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Johnny Dawkins. And also I"d be playing prior to the nation, top top incubadoradeartistas.com.
Finally, ~ hours and also hours the tossing and turning, i dozed off. Soon I feel this magnificent, significant breeze on mine face. However I was acquiring dizzy. In the distance up ahead I experienced something that i was going to crash right into ... And also then ns jerked awake. It was 4 fifteen in the morning. Ns sat increase in my bed, thinking, What the hell was that?!
Was that, somehow, a sign, a warning, and also I missed it?
The impact when ns landed was immediate, prefer an anchor being dropped into water. I was face down. My chest to be lying straight flat top top the grassy area between the curb and the sidewalk; my legs lay outstretched on height of each other, almost disconnected indigenous my body on the pavement in ~ a 90-degree angle. My reduced extremities were motionless as the curb pressed against my abdomen.
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I began screaming Kevin"s name over and also over again. I remained in so lot pain and unable come move, from my midsection down. I was details that i was paralyzed. With my cheek flush against the grass, I might see Kevin running toward me. Together he gained closer, ns remember his mouth opening wide in shock, practically in shock at what he was seeing. Every the color left his challenge as that stood end me, horrified. It looked as if someone had actually reached right into his body and also yanked the end his soul. His expression was all the confirmation ns needed around what I had actually done. I started crying and also pounding my best fist against the grass when screaming, "I threw it every away! i threw it all away! ns threw it every away!"
Kevin yelled for help while pulling out his cell phone to dial 911. I began to feeling the emotion of someone putting a pitcher the scalding warm water from mine pelvic area down to my feet. I entered shock as the pain began to override my senses. Kevin was holding my hand, telling me whatever was going to it is in all best -- ever again.