Jayson Williams is a former NBA player and one of American history’s most infamous courtroom defendants. He was convicted of manslaughter after he shot and killed his limo driver in 2002.
These days, he’s a recovery advocate and author who works to help people in recovery. He’s also an occasional sports commentator and actor.
He’s also the founder of Rebound at Futures Recovery Health Care in Florida, a program that provides treatment for people struggling with addiction. He’s also a recovering alcoholic and drug addict himself.
Overview of His NBA Career
He was born in South Carolina and raised in New Jersey. He went to Christ the King Regional High School, where he excelled in basketball. His talents on the court would take him all the way to the National Basketball Association (NBA), where the Philadelphia 76ers drafted him in the 1990 draft.
He suited up for the 76ers until 1992 when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets. It’s with the Nets that Williams found success. He rode the bench for the first three years of his tenure but would eventually earn a spot in the starting lineup in the 1996-1997 season. He averaged 13.5 points per game as a starter and a whopping 13.3 rebounds per game. His sudden dominance in the paint earned him a coveted spot in the All-Star Game in 1998.
Williams became well-known as he came toe-to-toe with Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and Dikembe Mutombo during his time in the league. He was known for being able to match up against even the biggest players in the NBA and played with a passion that made him an instant fan favorite among Nets fans.
Retirement from Professional Basketball
Williams was riding high from his sudden surge onto the NBA stage. He even signed a $90 million contract with the Nets in 1999. Little did anyone know that Williams won’t even play a single NBA game on that contract. Later on, this contract would be talked about as one of the worst in NBA history. So, you may be asking, why Jayson Williams retired so abruptly?
At the cusp of NBA stardom, tragedy struck the 30-year-old big man’s career. He suffered a career-ending injury after colliding with a teammate during practice. Williams would never play again but was still able to leave an impact on the league as a feel-good story of a former benchwarmer turned All-Star.
Post NBA Career
So, what happened to former NBA player Jayson Williams? Well, he was able to secure a $90 million contract from the Nets, which the team was obliged to pay even if he could not play a single game. The retired forward used the nest egg to sustain his alcoholism and purchase his mansion.
What Happened to Former NBA Player Jayson Williams?
However, his retirement life would be filled with plenty of ups and downs that wouldn’t be easy to deal with. Having so much money and not much to do, he turned to substance abuse and guns for solace.
Run-ins with the Law
Williams’ first major setback and what would eventually become a major part of his life was in 2002 when he accidentally shot and killed his limousine driver.
The former Nets star pled guilty to aggravated manslaughter and was sentenced to five years with the potential for parole after 18 months (about 1 and a half years).
However, there were other charges that stemmed from Jayson Williams’ accident such as tampering with the evidence and witnesses. He was immediately found guilty of the cover-up charges and served his time concurrently with the earlier manslaughter sentence.
To make things worse, Williams was charged with another crime while he during the manslaughter trials. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and sentenced to six months in jail, after getting into a vehicular accident.
The trials revealed that Williams was feeling the pressure of his professional life, and he turned to alcohol to cope. Williams’s substance abuse led him to make some poor decisions.
It would, later on, be revealed in his memoirs that this disease could have been caused by repressed early childhood trauma, which led to feelings of low self-esteem and isolation. The alcohol abuse was a way for Williams to cope with these feelings, but it ultimately led him down a path of self-destruction.
Where is Jayson Williams Now: Life After Prison
Williams would eventually find himself in a good place. He turned to writing and became an advocate for other athletes who were struggling with substance use disorders.
After he retired, Williams tried to fashion himself as a writer. He wrote about his experiences and the struggles he faced as a retired athlete.
The first book Williams wrote was called “Loose Balls,” which was published in 2001. In the book, Williams gives readers a peek into what life was like as an NBA player and often shows the humorous side of the life of an athlete.
However, this book will later serve as evidence of his alcoholism and self-destructive nature. In it, he talked about guns and violence in a lighthearted way, which later came back to haunt him when he was on trial for killing his driver.
Humbled – Letters from Prison
Williams found introspection and self-reflection to be effective ways of coping with his struggles, especially during the time he spent incarcerated. So, he began writing books on his experiences and the lessons he learned from them.
The product of his time in prison was a book called “Humbled – Letters from Prison,” which was published in 2012. In this book, Williams talks about the lessons he learned while incarcerated and during his youth and how they helped him become a better person.
Crashing: A Memoir
In 2018, he followed up with his third book titled “Crashing: A Memoir.” This book chronicles his experiences during his time in prison and after he got out. In the book, Williams talks about how he used writing as a way to cope with his struggles and how it helped him move on with his life. He also discusses issues like getting back up after a setback and other useful life lessons.
He also famously admitted to having been a victim of childhood trauma at the hands of a family member. In this book, he states that he was molested at just 7 years old by his uncle.
Rebound at Futures Recovery Health Care in Florida
So, where is Jayson Williams now? These days you’ll see the former NBA player channeling his energies to a worthy cause in the community. He is the founder of Rebound at Futures Recovery Health Care in Florida, a non-profit organization that helps people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol get back on track.
The program uses an unusual methodology for recovery that involves a lot of outdoor adventure activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, paddle boarding, camping, and hiking. The idea behind this is that people who are addicted to drugs often feel isolated from society and cut off from nature. By reconnecting with the outdoors, they gain a sense of belonging and develop a better understanding of themselves as well as their place in the world.
Wrapping Things Up: What Happened to Former NBA Player Jayson Williams?
While he’s known to be a bruiser in the league and a bad boy off the court, Jayson Williams has an inspiring story to tell. He’s a former NBA player who battled with alcohol and drug addiction, but he hasn’t let that define him. In fact, he even went on to become an advocate for helping others overcome their addictions.
And if there’s a lesson to be learned from his story, it’s that anyone can get help and change their lives for the better.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.
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