The Cautionary Tale of Jay Williams

We have all dreamed at one time or another of owning or simply riding a motorcycle or one of its burlier brethren down the street like speed demons. Now, we are older and wiser and know to approach these vehicles with care and respect, because we know what they are capable of. If you are unconvinced of the damage a motorcycle can do to a person, you need not look further than Jay Williams.

Actually, it was a March Madness game that reminded us of this tale. Many of you don't know, but we also love other sports and sometimes even bet on them – those who like betting on basketball can check this out, for example. However, what struck us most when we remembered Jason was that life can change in a second.

The Rising Star

Jason Williams showed his talent for basketball when he was still in high-school. While he was proficient in other extra-curricular activities, like chess and soccer, Williams excelled at basketball, breaking school records left and right – all the while maintaining a GPA of 3.6. Pretty impressive so far.

When he moved on to college, he continued to develop, making a name for himself as an excellent point guard that towered over his opponents and managed to score at least double figures in most of his games. He was one of the best rookies around and no one was surprised when he was drafted by the NBA in 2002.

The Accident

It is natural to want to show off. Having a lack of focus at a moment is also something that happens to everyone. The trouble arises when these two overlap. Jay Williams was sitting on a sports bike, revving the engine as one sometimes does to feel the power of the machine and imagine what can be done with it. When he revved the engine, he was sure that it was in neutral, which would just make the engine sound off, roaring.

What happened, however, was much less fortunate. The bike launched Williams, who was holding on for dear life. It all happened in seconds. Without any control or protective gear, Jason Williams crashed when he ran across a utility pole. The crash sent him flying into the air and onto the ground. He couldn’t feel a significant portion of his body. This happened in 2003, a mere year after signing on with the Chicago Bulls. Williams wasn’t even supposed to be on the bike – it was against his contract.

The Recovery Period

Williams needed years to recover. The intensive physical therapy was bad enough, but the idea of not being able to play again was what really tortured him. The Bulls, understandably, were not keen on keeping a player that jeopardized his future and broke the contract. They did, however, give him a severance package to be used in his rehabilitation. He did go back to basketball but was forced to quit it entirely in 2006. Remember that the next time you want to perform a stunt.