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With the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls selected Jay Williams, the National Player of the Year from Duke. Williams was touted as the next Bulls superstar.
But two months after finishing his first season, Williams nearly died in a motorcycle crash.
"I woke up not knowing whether it was hours or days later, to seeing three metal pins inserted surgically into the bone of my left leg. Dr. Mallet walked in the room after they removed the tube from my throat and without hesitation I tried to whisper to her, 'Will I ever be able to play again?' And she said, 'We should try to focus on walking.' And it almost felt, at that given moment, that I wish I had died."
It took Williams two years and more than 10 surgeries to get back on the court. He ended up in the NBA D-League where he found a coach who believed in him: former Celtics great Dennis Johnson. Williams says Johnson told him, "You are going to come back — we are going to do this." Then, one day, Williams got a call from a teammate.
"I just remember him saying, 'Coach DJ passed away. He had a heart attack on the court. And I started to cry hysterically. I didn't really know what to do with myself, and I started to think to myself, 'What am I chasing?' Over these last several years I've been chasing this ghost of my past, and was I really chasing it for the right reason?"
Williams shares the rest of his story, In His Own Words. To hear the full story, click the play button below the headline at the top of the page. Williams is the author of the recent book, "Life Is Not An Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention."
This segment aired on January 30, 2016.
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