Jay Williams Rebuilds Leg, Life

Jay Williams Rebuilds Leg, Life

Imagine life as the Guy Who Threw It All Away.

“I’ve thought back to that moment a lot because people won’t let me forget,” Williams said. “And this might sound crazy, but it was the worst decision I made and the best thing that ever happened to me.”

He added, “This isn’t a pity story.”

Jay Williams, 31, can say that now, more than nine years removed from the accident that nearly ended his life and irrevocably altered it. It took him that long to come to terms with the entirety of his story — high school all-American, national player of the year and national champion at Duke, No. 2 overall N.B.A. draft selection, and all that before the accident, before the hospital, before the injury that ended his professional career after one season and made him a retiree at 21.

In a series of interviews over the last three months, Williams, for the first time, detailed all that he went through.

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