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|Born||February 22, 1968|
Ritter, South Carolina
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|High school||Christ the King|
(Queens, New York)
|College||St. John's (1987-1990)|
|NBA draft||1990 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21st overall|
|Selected by the Phoenix Suns|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|1992-1999||New Jersey Nets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||3,472 (7.3 ppg)|
|Rebounds||3,584 (7.5 rpg)|
|Assists||287 (0.6 bpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Jayson Williams (born February 22, 1968) is an American former professional basketball player. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association. In 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to assault in the accidental shooting death of a limousine driver. He served a 27-month prison sentence and was released in April 2012.
Williams was born in Ritter, South Carolina, to Elijah Joshua Williams and Barbara Williams. He is of Polish, Italian and African-American descent. His mother Barbara worked for years at Gouverneur skilled nursing facility in lower Manhattan. Williams attended Christ The King Regional High School and St. John's University, both in New York City, and played on the basketball team in both.
Williams was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round with the 21st pick of the 1990 NBA draft. His draft rights were thereafter traded by the Suns to the Philadelphia 76ers for a 1993 first-round draft choice on October 28, 1990. After two seasons as a bench player with the 76ers, Williams was traded to the New Jersey Nets for conditional draft choices on October 8, 1992.
While with the Nets, Williams only earned 12 starts in his first three seasons with the team before finally earning a full-time starting position in the 1996-97 season. The following season, Williams had a career year, leading the league in offensive rebounds and offensive rebound percentage while also finishing the season in the top five in total rebounds, rebounds per game, total rebound percentage and offensive rating. Williams also received his first and only All-Star game selection, playing in the 1998 NBA All-Star Game.
Williams' career came to a sudden end on April 1, 1999, after he broke his right leg in a collision with teammate Stephon Marbury in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. The following day, Williams underwent career-ending surgery in which a plate and five screws were inserted into his leg. After sitting out the entire 1999-2000 season, Williams officially announced his retirement on June 28, 2000, at the age of 32 after nine seasons. At the time of the injury, Williams was in the first year of a six-year, $90 million contract. In 2005, he briefly came out of retirement to play for the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball Association.
In 1992, Williams was accused of breaking a beer mug over a patron's head at a saloon in Chicago. Two years later, he was accused of firing a semiautomatic weapon into the parking lot at the Meadowlands Sports Complex. He was never criminally charged in either case.
On February 14, 2002, 55-year-old limousine driver Costas "Gus" Christofi was shot and killed at Williams's estate in Alexandria Township, New Jersey. Christofi had been hired to drive Williams's NBA charity team from a Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, event to his mansion, about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Trenton, New Jersey. Members of Williams's NBA charity basketball team were present at the scene. The New York Post reported that Williams was playing with a shotgun while giving a tour of his 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) home when the weapon fired, killing Christofi.
In April 2004, Williams was acquitted of the more serious charges against him, but the court's jury deadlocked on a charge of reckless manslaughter. He was convicted on four counts of trying to cover up the shooting.
On April 21, 2006, a Hunterdon County appeals court ruled that Williams could be retried on a reckless manslaughter charge stemming from the shooting death of Christofi. The court repeatedly delayed the retrial for a series of reasons, such as the State's 2008 appeal of a ruling relating to prosecutorial misconduct at the first trial.
On January 11, 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. On February 23, 2010, he was finally sentenced to 5 years in prison with possible parole after 18 months. Williams was subsequently moved on April 19, 2011, to Rikers Island to serve an additional 1-year sentence for a DWI, of which he served 8 months and was released from custody on April 13, 2012.
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported on April 27, 2009, that Williams was stunned with a taser in a New York City hotel by members of the NYPD after reports that Williams had become suicidal and violent. Upon entering the Manhattan hotel room police said that Williams was visibly intoxicated, and that empty bottles of prescription medications were found around the room. Officers stunned him with the taser and took him to a hospital.
On January 5, 2010, Williams was charged with driving while intoxicated after an early morning accident in lower Manhattan, in which he crashed his Mercedes into a tree. On August 20, 2010, he was sentenced to an additional year in prison, to be added on to the five-year prison sentence for the shooting death of a limousine driver. He additionally received a $16,433 fine for the damage to the tree. Williams was released from prison in April 2012.
Williams was the principal owner of the New Jersey Storm of the National Lacrosse League (NLL). The franchise operated for two seasons, 2002 and 2003, before moving to Anaheim, California and becoming the Anaheim Storm. Due to consistently poor results, as well as its presence in tough markets, the Storm failed to make much of an impression and it became defunct before the start of the 2006 season.
In 2001, Williams authored a book about basketball entitled Loose Balls.[book 1] The book, intended largely to be a humorous recollection of Williams's life in the NBA, was later cited as containing nine separate anecdotes involving his tendency to play with guns, including one where football player Wayne Chrebet is nearly shot and one where the uncle of Manute Bol is threatened with an unloaded handgun.
A third book, Crashing: A Memoir, is due to be published in December 2019.[book 3]
In 1996, Williams proposed during halftime of a nationally televised basketball game to model Cynthia Bailey. The two later parted.
Williams married Kellie Batiste in December 1999; they divorced soon afterward. In 2000, he married Tanya Young; and divorced in 2011. Young was a cast member of VH1's reality TV show Basketball Wives: LA.
Williams' father, Elijah Joshua Williams, died of a stroke aged 76 in November 2009.