Jay Williams
Williams on ESPN in January 2011
Personal information
Born (1981-09-10) September 10, 1981 (age 41)
Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High schoolSt. Joseph (Metuchen, New Jersey)
CollegeDuke (1999–2002)
NBA draft2002: 1st round, 2nd overall pick
Selected by the Chicago Bulls
Playing career2002–2003, 2006
PositionPoint guard
Career history
20022004Chicago Bulls
2006Austin Toros
Career highlights and awards
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2017

Jason David Williams (born September 10, 1981) is an American former basketball player and television analyst. He played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team and professionally for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Then known as Jason Williams, he won the 2001 NCAA Championship with Duke, and was named NABC Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002. He was drafted second overall in the 2002 NBA draft by the Bulls. He asked to be called Jay on joining the Bulls, to avoid confusion with two other players in the NBA at the time.[1] His playing career was effectively ended by a motorcycle accident in 2003. He last signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, but was waived on December 30, 2006, due to lingering physical effects from his accident.[2]

Since retiring, he has worked as an analyst for ESPN, initially working on ESPN College Basketball. In 2019, however, Williams was reassigned to the NBA full-time with his addition on ESPN's NBA Countdown program.

High school

Williams grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, and attended St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, graduating in 1999. He not only excelled at basketball, but took an active interest in other activities, most notably chess. His nickname in high school was "Jay Dubs." Williams also played junior varsity soccer during his freshman year and was the state volleyball player of the year during his senior year. In basketball that year, Williams was named a First Team All-State Player in New Jersey, the New Jersey Player of the Year, a Parade All-American, a USA Today first team All-American, and a McDonald's All-American, where he competed in the Slam Dunk Contest and the McDonald's All-American Game, scoring 20 points in the contest. In his last year of high school he averaged 19 points, 7.0 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 steals per game; he had started each of the 4 years he spent at St. Joseph, and set school records in total points (1,977) and steals (407).[3] He was also named the recipient of the 1999 Morgan Wootten Award for his basketball achievements and his work in the classroom, where he maintained a 3.6 GPA.

College career

At Duke, Williams, a 6-foot-2-inch (1.88 m), 195-pound (88 kg) point guard, became one of the few freshmen in school history to average double figures in scoring and was named ACC Rookie of the Year and National Freshman of the Year by The Sporting News, averaging 14.5 points, 6.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per contest. He was also a first team Freshman All-American by Basketball Times.[citation needed]

The next season Williams started all 39 games and led the Devils to the 2001 NCAA National Championship, earning NABC Player of the Year honors. His 841 points broke Dick Groat's 49-year Duke record for points in a season, while he led all tournament scorers with a 25.7 points per game average. Williams also set the NCAA Tournament record for three-pointers attempted (66), while also making 132 three-point field goals—good for the sixth-highest total in NCAA history. His 21.6 points per game led the ACC and made him the first Duke player since Danny Ferry (1989) to lead the league in scoring. His 6.1 assists were good for second in the league, while he also ranked second in three-point field goal percentage (.427) and first in three-pointers made (3.4 per game). Williams was widely considered the best player in college basketball, earning both the prestigious Naismith Award and Wooden Award as College Basketball's Player of the Year in 2002. He graduated with a degree in Sociology in 2002, and left Duke with 2,079 points, good for sixth all-time, and with his jersey number 22 retired at Senior Day.

He had 36 double-figure scoring games in a single season (tied for 5th-most in Duke history as of March 28, 2010, with Jon Scheyer, Shane Battier, and JJ Redick).[4]

In 2001–02, Williams, Carlos Boozer, and Mike Dunleavy Jr. each scored at least 600 points for the season, a feat only matched at Duke by Jon Scheyer, Kyle Singler, and Nolan Smith in the 2009–10 season.[4] Williams (841) and Shane Battier (778) on the 2001 national championship team were one of only two Duke duos to each score over 700 points in a season, the other duo being Scheyer (728) and Singler (707) in the 2009–10 season.[5]

Professional career

Chicago Bulls (2002–2004)

Williams was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, after Yao Ming was selected by the Houston Rockets. Williams was a starter in the Bulls' line-up for most of the 2002–03 NBA season. Although his performance was inconsistent and he competed for playing time with Jamal Crawford, he showed signs of promise, including posting a triple-double in a win over the New Jersey Nets. Williams' final NBA game was played on April 15, 2003, in a 115–106 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in which he recorded 14 points, 7 assists, 2 rebounds, and 1 steal.

Motorcycle accident

On the night of June 19, 2003, Williams was riding a motorcycle at a fast speed on the North Side of Chicago. He crashed his Yamaha YZF-R6 motorcycle into a streetlight at the intersection of Belmont Avenue and Honore Street in the Roscoe Village neighborhood. Williams was not wearing a helmet, nor was he licensed to ride a motorcycle in Illinois, and he was also violating the terms of his NBA Bulls contract by riding a motorcycle.[6] Williams' injuries included a fractured pelvis, a severed main nerve in his leg, and three torn ligaments in his left knee, including the ACL. He required lengthy physical therapy to regain the use of his leg. A week after the motorcycle crash, the Bulls drafted point guard Kirk Hinrich. When it became clear Williams would not be returning to the Bulls for a long time, if at all, because of his severe injuries, the Bulls chose to waive him and drop him from the roster. This left the team without their top draft pick from just a year prior. Legally, the Bulls did not have to pay Williams any remaining salary at all because his severe injuries occurred while he violated the terms of his contract by riding a motorcycle; however, the Bulls organization decided to give Williams $3 million when they waived him so Williams could use the funds toward his rehabilitation expenses. Williams apologized to the Bulls organization for violating the terms of his contract and severely injuring himself. He stated at the time that he would work hard in his physical rehabilitation so that he could make a return to the Bulls. In his 2016 memoir, he mentioned that he became addicted to illegal painkillers as well as other drugs after the accident.[7]

Austin Toros (2006)

On September 28, 2006, the New Jersey Nets announced that they had signed Williams to a non-guaranteed contract. However, on October 22, the Nets released him.[8]

Williams then signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, but he played in just three games for the club. On December 30, 2006, the Toros waived him due to injury.[9] Williams subsequently announced that he had no plans to resume his basketball career.

National team career

During his basketball playing career, Williams also represented the senior USA national basketball team. He was a part of the US team that finished in 6th place at the 2002 FIBA World Cup, which was held in Indianapolis.[10] In seven games played during the tournament, Williams averaged 3.9 points, 1.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 0.9 steals, in 6.6 minutes per game.[11]

Post-basketball career

Williams works for ESPN as an NBA analyst. Previously, Williams covered college basketball for the network.[12] He has also done motivational speaking and worked as an analyst on CBS College Sports Network during the 2008 NCAA men's basketball tournament.[13] He was a recruiter for sports agency Ceruzzi Sports and Entertainment from 2007 to 2009.[14] In 2016, Williams released his autobiography, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention.[15] Presently, Williams is the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Endwell, New York.[citation needed] He was also an announcer in NBA Live 19.

According to a May 2020 article on BlackEnterprise.com, Williams co-founded a management consulting company named Simatree, serves as a partial owner of The CabinNYC restaurant, works as an advisor to a digital marketing agency, and partners with EPIC Insurance to provide financial guidance to athletes and celebrities.[16]

In 2021, Williams began hosting a podcast series titled The Limits with Jay Williams for NPR.[17]

He also co-hosts the "Keyshawn, JWill & Max Show" national morning show on ESPN Radio, with Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman.[18]

Personal life

Jay is a cousin of former NFL wide receiver David Tyree.[19]

He is married to Nikki Bonacorsi and is the father of one daughter, Amelia, and one son, Zane.[20][21]

Career statistics

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high


Regular season

2002–03 Chicago 75 54 26.1 .399 .322 .640 2.6 4.7 1.1 .2 9.5


1999–00 Duke 34 34 34.0 .419 .354 .685 4.2 6.5 2.4 .2 14.5
2000–01 Duke 39 39 31.8 .473 .427 .659 3.3 6.1 2.0 .1 21.6
2001–02 Duke 35 35 33.6 .457 .383 .676 3.5 5.3 2.2 .1 21.3
Career 108 108 33.1 .453 .393 .671 3.7 6.0 2.2 .1 19.3


  1. ^ Jason Williams and Jayson Williams
  2. ^ "The Official Site Of The Nba Development League: Austin Toros". Nba.com. Archived from the original on January 15, 2009. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  3. ^ "Harvey named national player of the year". USA Today. May 21, 1999. Retrieved April 13, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Notes: Duke 78, Baylor 71 – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". GoDuke.com. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  5. ^ "Notes: Duke 61, Butler 59 – Duke University Blue Devils | Official Athletics Site". GoDuke.com. December 5, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2010.
  6. ^ Ian Thomsen (July 7, 2003). "After Jay Williams's motorcycle crash, the Bulls' new G.M. – 07.07.03 – SI Vault". Vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Archived from the original on July 22, 2012. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  7. ^ Life is not an Accident, William Jay, p. 258-9
  8. ^ "ESPN – Jay Williams, in comeback attempt, cut by Nets – NBA". Sports.espn.go.com. October 23, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  9. ^ "NBA Development League: Transactions Index". Nba.com. November 27, 2009. Archived from the original on November 1, 2011. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  10. ^ "FOURTEENTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- 2002". USAB.com. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  11. ^ 2002 World Championship for Men USA 12 - Jason Williams.
  12. ^ ESPN MediaZone (2010). Williams is widely known for being the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Endwell, New York. Jay Williams Archived June 16, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed June 23, 2012.
  13. ^ "'Active' Noah's NBA debut a rare bright spot". Daily Herald. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  14. ^ Rivals.com (2009). Agents and AAU: Unrequited Love. Accessed June 23, 2012.
  15. ^ Williams, Jay (January 26, 2016). Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention. Harper. p. 272. ISBN 978-0062327987. Retrieved February 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Gumbs, Alisa (May 22, 2020). "blackenterprise.com". blackenterprise.com. Black Enterprise. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  17. ^ Donovan, Dave (September 9, 2021). "NPR Announces New Podcast with Jay Williams". NPR (Press release). Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  18. ^ "‘ESPN New York 98.7’ Expands Local Morning Show; Drops ‘Keyshawn, JWill & Max,’" Insideradio.com, December 1, 2022, retrieved March 7, 2023.
  19. ^ GoneTrending (August 17, 2020). "Jay Williams Can't Wait To Have More Space To Build Bridges On ESPN Radio". Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  20. ^ "Jay Williams Talks 'Serendipitous' Life as a Working Dad After Almost Dying in an Accident at 21". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  21. ^ "Jay Williams Announces the Birth of Another Child". twitter.com. Retrieved April 10, 2020.