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Jay Williams is considered one of the most prolific college basketball players in history. The #2 pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, he is now an analyst on “College GameDay” and a regular commentator on ESPN and ESPN2’s weeknight studio coverage.
Following a motorcycle accident in 2003, Williams was forced to retire from basketball after just one season with the Chicago Bulls. Rather than letting the near-fatal accident destroy his future, Williams parlayed his experience on the court into a successful career in broadcasting and business. Drawing from his time in recovery and building his brand, Williams has established himself as a premier keynote motivational speaker for various executive business conferences and charitable organizations nationwide.
His best-selling memoir, “Life is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention” (Harper Collins, 2016), focuses on the life-altering depression and ultimate healing that Williams underwent in the aftermath of his accident. The 2018 documentary web-series, “Best Shot,” follows Williams as he mentors high school basketball players from Newark’s Central High School. Directed by Michael John Warren and executive produced by LeBron James, “Best Shot” is available on YouTube Red.
Williams joined at the start of the 2014-15 season as an analyst on ESPN’s “College GameDay,” the popular college basketball program that originates from the “Saturday Primetime” game-of-the-week telecasts. First joining ESPN in 2003, Williams became a full-time game and studio analyst in 2008. He was also an analyst for CBS College Sports Network in 2007, and a contributor to Fox Sports Radio in North Carolina.
Williams was drafted second by Chicago in the 2002 NBA Draft, just behind No. 1 pick Yao Ming, and started 54 of 75 games for the Bulls in the 2002-03 season. As a starter for three years at Duke, Williams won the Naismith College Player of the Year award, the John R. Wooden Award, and the Oscar Robertson Trophy. He averaged double figures as a freshman, which helped earn him the ACC Rookie of the Year award in 2000 and recognition as a first-team All-America player.
An accomplished entrepreneur and spokesperson, Williams is the CEO and national director of special events for Rising Stars Youth Foundation, using basketball as the vehicle to promote education and provide academic and financial assistance to students within the program.
He is a member of the NBA Retired Players Association, a voting member of the John Wooden Awards Committee and sits on the board of USA Basketball. Williams has also been a spokesperson for Athletic Advantage, a sports physical therapy and performance development center in Durham, North Carolina.
The first athlete at Duke University to earn a degree in just three years, Williams graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and business.