Jayson Williams

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.[1] He served a 27-month prison sentence and was released in April 2012.[2]

Jayson Williams
Personal information
Born (1968-02-22) February 22, 1968 (age 52)
Ritter, South Carolina
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
High schoolChrist the King
(Queens, New York)
CollegeSt. John's (1987–1990)
NBA draft1990 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21st overall
Selected by the Phoenix Suns
Playing career1990–2000
PositionPower forward / Center
Career history
19901992Philadelphia 76ers
19921999New Jersey Nets
2005Idaho Stampede
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points3,472 (7.3 ppg)
Rebounds3,584 (7.5 rpg)
Assists287 (0.6 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Early lifeEdit

Williams was born in Ritter, South Carolina, to Elijah Joshua Williams and Barbara Williams. He is of Polish, Italian and African-American descent.[3] His mother Barbara worked for years at Gouverneur skilled nursing facility in lower Manhattan.[4] 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.

Professional careerEdit

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.

Injury and retirementEdit

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.[5] The following day, Williams underwent career-ending surgery in which a plate and five screws were inserted into his leg.[6] 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.[7] 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.[8]

Legal incidentsEdit

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.

Assault convictionEdit

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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.[13]

On January 11, 2010, Williams pleaded guilty to aggravated assault.[14] On February 23, 2010, he was finally sentenced to 5 years in prison with possible parole after 18 months.[15] Williams was subsequently moved on April 19, 2011,[16] to Rikers Island to serve an additional 1-year sentence for a DWI,[17] of which he served 8 months and was released from custody on April 13, 2012.[17][18]

Tasering incidentEdit

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.[19]

Raleigh bar fightEdit

Williams was arrested on May 24, 2009, for allegedly punching a man in the face at a bar in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was charged with simple assault. Later the charges were dropped.[20]

DWI incidentEdit

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.[21] 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.[22] Williams was released from prison in April 2012.[23]

Indoor lacrosseEdit

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.

In 2012, Williams published a second book, an autobiography entitled Humbled ~ Letters From Prison.[book 2] The book includes revelations about being abused as a child.[24]

A third book, Crashing: A Memoir, is due to be published in December 2019.[book 3]

Personal lifeEdit

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.[25] 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.[4]

NBA career statisticsEdit

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular seasonEdit

1990–91 Philadelphia 52 1 9.8 .447 .500 .661 2.1 .3 .2 .1 3.5
1991–92 Philadelphia 50 8 12.9 .364 .636 2.9 .2 .4 .4 4.1
1992–93 New Jersey 12 2 11.6 .457 .389 3.4 .0 .3 .3 4.1
1993–94 New Jersey 70 0 12.5 .427 .605 3.8 .4 .2 .5 4.6
1994–95 New Jersey 75 6 13.1 .461 .000 .533 5.7 .5 .3 .4 4.8
1995–96 New Jersey 80 6 23.2 .423 .286 .592 10.0 .6 .4 .7 9.0
1996–97 New Jersey 41 40 34.9 .409 .000 .590 13.5 1.2 .6 .9 13.4
1997–98 New Jersey 65 65 36.0 .498 .000 .666 13.6 1.0 .7 .8 12.9
1998–99 New Jersey 30 30 34.0 .445 .000 .565 12.0 1.1 .8 2.0 8.1
Career 475 158 20.6 .440 .125 .606 7.5 .6 .4 .6 7.3
All-Star 1 0 19.0 .667 10.0 1.0 .0 .0 4.0


1991 Philadelphia 4 0 2.5 .800 1.0 .0 .0 .0 2.0
1994 New Jersey 2 0 8.5 .000 .500 1.5 .0 .0 .0 .5
1998 New Jersey 3 2 38.7 .429 .500 14.0 1.7 .7 1.0 7.0
Career 9 2 15.9 .448 .500 5.4 .6 .2 .3 3.3


  1. ^ "Former NBA star Jayson Williams gets five-year sentence in shooting - CNN.com". Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  2. ^ "Retired NBA player Jayson Williams leaves jail". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 18, 2018.
  3. ^ "Jayson Williams". NNDB. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Brown, Amanda. "E.J. Williams, father of former Nets star Jayson Williams, dies at 76". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  5. ^ "Broken Leg Sidelines Nets Star Williams". Seattle Times. April 2, 1999.
  6. ^ "Nets Make Plans Without Williams". Chicago Tribune. April 3, 1999.
  7. ^ "Nets To Announce Jayson Is Retiring". New York Daily News. June 28, 2000.
  8. ^ "Facing re-trial, Williams joins Idaho team – NBA – ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Hanley, Robert. "Reporter's Notebook; At Former Nets Star's Trial, A Tangle of Contradictions", The New York Times, February 29, 2004. Retrieved December 20, 2007. "Five friends and four Harlem Globetrotters were in various parts of Jayson Williams's country home in Alexandria Township, N.J., when a chauffeur, Costas Christofi, was killed two years ago by a blast from a shotgun held by Mr. Williams."
  10. ^ Matt Rainey/The Star-Ledger. "Jayson Williams sentencing comes after lengthy legal battle that spans 8 years". Nj.com. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  11. ^ Jones, Richard G. "Ex-Nets Star Faces Retrial for a Shooting at His Home", The New York Times, April 22, 2006, Retrieved April 27, 2009. "Jayson Williams can be retried on a charge of reckless manslaughter stemming from the shooting of a limousine driver in 2002, a New Jersey appeals court ruled on Friday."
  12. ^ [1] Attorneys for Jayson Williams say the retired NBA star's convictions related to a fatal shooting should be thrown out because of prosecutorial misconduct.
  13. ^ Jennifer Golson/The Star-Ledger (January 3, 2008). "Jayson Williams retrial on hold as state appeals racial slur ruling". Nj.com. Retrieved January 2, 2012.
  14. ^ Siemaszko, Corky (January 11, 2010) Ex-Net Jayson Williams pleads guilty to fatal shooting of driver; faces minimum 18 months in jail. NY Dailynews
  15. ^ "Williams to serve at least 18 months". Associated Press. February 23, 2010.
  16. ^ "Retired NBA star Jayson Williams to transfer from N.J. prison to Rikers Island". NJ.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  17. ^ a b "Ex-NBA Star Jayson Williams – Released from Rikers Island". tmz.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  18. ^ "BREAKING! Troubled NBA Star Jayson Williams Released From Prison". Vibe. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  19. ^ Associated Press, "Former Net Williams Tasered By the Police", April 28, 2009. Retrieved May 14, 2009.
  20. ^ "Troubled Jayson Williams Busted for Alleged Assault". BET.com
  21. ^ Baker, Al (January 5, 2010) "Jayson Williams Charged with D.W.I. After Accident". New York Times
  22. ^ Deborah Brunswick (August 20, 2010). "Former NBA player sentenced to additional year in prison". CNN News. Retrieved August 21, 2010.
  23. ^ "Jayson Williams released from prison on Rikers Island". NJ.com. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  24. ^ Dwyer, Kelly (January 30, 2012) Former All-Star Jayson Williams, the ‘Moses of Rikers,’ is writing a new book. Yahoo Sports
  25. ^ Williams, Brennan (September 19, 2011). "Tanya Young Williams, Jayson Williams' Estranged Wife, On 'Basketball Wives,' Domestic Violence". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 9, 2018.

Further readingEdit

  1. ^ Williams, Jayson (2000). Loose Balls: Easy Money, Hard Fouls, Cheap Laughs and True Love in the NBA. with Steve Friedman. Doubleday. ISBN 038549226X.
  2. ^ Williams, Jayson (2012). Humbled ~ Letters From Prison. Xulon Press. ISBN 1622306090.
  3. ^ Williams, Jayson (December 2019). Crashing: A Memoir. with Peter Wilkinson. St. Martin's Press. ASIN B00IQNYWLG.

External linksEdit