Former Duke point guard and Chicago Bulls lottery pick Jay Williams’ book titled “Life Is Not An Accident: A Memoir Of Reinvention” was released on Tuesday. While promoting his book, he stopped in at SI NOW and spoke about the contents of the book.
Williams was the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, but after one season with the Bulls, his career came to an end when he crashed his motorcycle. He severed a main nerve in his leg, fractured his pelvis, and tore up his left knee. Since he violated his contract by riding a motorcycle, he was legally entitled to nothing from the Bulls, who graciously settled with him for $3 million.
In 2008, Williams was representing Ceruzzi Sports and Entertainment, a company that essentially bribed a California AAU coach named Pat Barrett $250,000 to gain access to players he had an influence over. Barrett previously coached Kevin Love, and wanted to introduce the UCLA power forward to Williams.
A bombshell Yahoo! Sports piece back in 2009 quoted Love’s reaction to the offer to meet with Williams, and it wasn’t pretty:
“If I was going with an agent, why would I ever go with a guy who, no offense, but he crashed a motorcycle into a tree. I’m not going to go with a guy that’s reckless.”
Those words apparently hit Williams pretty hard. He says he left the sports agent business after the failed attempt to woo Love in the Yahoo! piece, but while doing press for his book, he admitted much, much more.
According to Williams, the harsh words from Love actually caused him to attempt suicide for a second time. The first, according to a NY Times piece from 2013, was while he was laid up with the motorcycle injury. The second, apparently, came after Love’s rebuke.
Williams explained to SI NOW how he built up a solid relationship with Love, going as far to open up about his struggles with feeling like a failure after the career-ending incident. Catching wind of Love’ criticism in the Yahoo! Sports piece hit him hard, and led to a second attempt. Williams doesn’t get into the specifics, perhaps a teaser to get you to read the book.