Williams on ESPN in January 2011
|Born||September 10, 1981|
Plainfield, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|NBA draft||2002 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Chicago Bulls|
|Playing career||2002-2004, 2006|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats 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 current television analyst. He played college basketball for the Duke Blue Devils men's basketball team and professionally for the Chicago Bulls in the NBA. He is married to Nikki Bonacorsi and is the father of one daughter, Amelia.
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. 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.
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.
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). 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.
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.
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 ppg 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 ppg 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.
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. 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.
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 his home state team, the New Jersey Nets.
On the night of June 19, 2003, Williams crashed his Yamaha YZF-R6 motorcycle into a streetlight at the intersection of Belmont and Honore streets in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood. Williams was not wearing a helmet, was not licensed to ride a motorcycle in Illinois, and was also violating the terms of his Bulls contract by riding a motorcycle. Williams' injuries included a severed main nerve in his leg, fractured pelvis and three torn ligaments in his left knee including the ACL. He required 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 injuries, he was waived. Legally, the Bulls did not have to pay him any salary, because his injuries occurred while he was violating his contract by riding a motorcycle. Instead, the Bulls gave Williams $3 million when they waived him, which Williams could use toward future rehabilitation expenses. Williams stated at the time that he would continue to train and intended to make a return to the Bulls, but in his 2016 memoir, he mentioned that a lot of the Bulls' severance package fueled his addiction to illegal painkillers and other drugs. In the interim, he appeared in college and high school basketball broadcasts on ESPN as a commentator.
On September 28, 2006, the New Jersey Nets announced that they had signed Williams to a non-guaranteed contract, giving Williams the opportunity to play in his home state. However, on October 22, the Nets released Williams.
He then signed with the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League, and played in 3 games for the club. On December 30, 2006, the Toros waived him due to injury. Williams subsequently announced that he had no plans to resume his basketball career.
Williams works for ESPN as an NBA analyst. Previously, Williams covered college basketball for the network. He has also done motivational speaking and worked as an analyst on CBS College Sports Network during the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. He was a recruiter for sports agency Ceruzzi Sports and Entertainment from 2007-09. In 2016, Williams released his autobiography, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention. Presently, Williams is the Spokesperson of Visions Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Endwell, New York. 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.