In a New York Times profile nearly 10 years since a motorcycle accident effectively ended his career, Jay Williams details the emotional and psychological recovery he underwent in the years following the incident for the first time.
Williams, a National Freshman of the Year, NCAA champion and Naismith National Player of the Year for Duke in the early 2000s, told Times reporter Greg Bishop that he struggled with depression, went to the therapy and even attempted suicide.
“I remember lying in my bed,” he said. “And I’m just tired of being here. I didn’t want to be here anymore. I was so afraid to face people. And I didn’t really know who I was. And I didn’t really want anybody to see me. And I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I didn’t want to talk about it.”
Williams glanced at his mother, Althea Williams, as he recounted the story. He continued: “I mean, to the point where I sat there, and I had this pair of scissors in my hand. I just kept going on my wrist. I wasn’t trying to go sideways. I was going vertical. I didn’t want to be here. At all.”
His mother added: “I came in. I saw it. I slept in the room every day after that.”
The story also details his injuries and physical recovery, his rise to a touted NBA prospect and his current life.
Williams, the No. 2 overall pick after Yao Ming went No. 1 in the 2002 draft, played 75 games during his only season in the NBA, averaging 9.5 points and 4.7 assists. He attempted a comeback in 2006, but never returned to the league.
He has worked for ESPN as a college basketball analyst since 2004 and is currently dating ESPN TV personality Charissa Thompson.