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Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention

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This big-hearted memoir by the most promising professional basketball player of his generation details his rise to NBA stardom, the terrible accident that ended his career and plunged him into a life-altering depression, and how he ultimately found his way out of the darkness Ten years ago, Jay Williams was at the beginning of a brilliant professional basketball career. The This big-hearted memoir by the most promising professional basketball player of his generation details his rise to NBA stardom, the terrible accident that ended his career and plunged him into a life-altering depression, and how he ultimately found his way out of the darkness Ten years ago, Jay Williams was at the beginning of a brilliant professional basketball career. The Chicago Bulls’ top draft pick—and the second pick up of the entire draft—he had the great Michael Jordan’s locker. Then he ran his high-performance motorcycle head-on into a light pole, severely damaging himself and ending his career. In this intense, hard-hitting, and deeply profound memoir, Williams talks about the accident that transformed him. Sometimes, the memories are so fresh, he feels like he’ll never escape the past. Most days, he finds a quiet peace as a commentator on ESPN and as an entrepreneur who can only look back in astonishment at his younger self—a kid who had it all, thought he was invincible, and lost everything . . . only to gain new wisdom. Williams also shares behind the scenes details of life as an All-American. He tells it straight about the scandalous recruiting process and his decision to return to Duke and Coach K—a man who taught him about accountability—to finish his education. He also speaks out about corruption—among coaches, administrators, players, and alumni—and about his time in the NBA, introducing us to a dark underworld culture in the pros: the gambling, drugs, and sex in every city, with players on every team.


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This big-hearted memoir by the most promising professional basketball player of his generation details his rise to NBA stardom, the terrible accident that ended his career and plunged him into a life-altering depression, and how he ultimately found his way out of the darkness Ten years ago, Jay Williams was at the beginning of a brilliant professional basketball career. The This big-hearted memoir by the most promising professional basketball player of his generation details his rise to NBA stardom, the terrible accident that ended his career and plunged him into a life-altering depression, and how he ultimately found his way out of the darkness Ten years ago, Jay Williams was at the beginning of a brilliant professional basketball career. The Chicago Bulls’ top draft pick—and the second pick up of the entire draft—he had the great Michael Jordan’s locker. Then he ran his high-performance motorcycle head-on into a light pole, severely damaging himself and ending his career. In this intense, hard-hitting, and deeply profound memoir, Williams talks about the accident that transformed him. Sometimes, the memories are so fresh, he feels like he’ll never escape the past. Most days, he finds a quiet peace as a commentator on ESPN and as an entrepreneur who can only look back in astonishment at his younger self—a kid who had it all, thought he was invincible, and lost everything . . . only to gain new wisdom. Williams also shares behind the scenes details of life as an All-American. He tells it straight about the scandalous recruiting process and his decision to return to Duke and Coach K—a man who taught him about accountability—to finish his education. He also speaks out about corruption—among coaches, administrators, players, and alumni—and about his time in the NBA, introducing us to a dark underworld culture in the pros: the gambling, drugs, and sex in every city, with players on every team.

30 review for Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a memoir junkie, and a huge NCAA basketball fan. I love real stories about real people. I want to know their vulnerability, their insecurity, their fears and failures, and I want to see how they overcome them. I want to know about how they find a way through to embrace who they are and thrive. This book gave me everything I wanted, and more. It may be the most raw, humble, and honest memoir I've read. I wasn't a fan of Jay Williams before I read this book (I wa Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a memoir junkie, and a huge NCAA basketball fan. I love real stories about real people. I want to know their vulnerability, their insecurity, their fears and failures, and I want to see how they overcome them. I want to know about how they find a way through to embrace who they are and thrive. This book gave me everything I wanted, and more. It may be the most raw, humble, and honest memoir I've read. I wasn't a fan of Jay Williams before I read this book (I wasn't not a fan either, I just didn't have an opinion one way or another). I will now watch him on ESPN with a new level of respect. Thank you for sharing yourself in this way, Jay Williams.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Winter Sophia Rose

    Inspirational, Insightful, Shocking & Deep! A Powerful Read! A Powerful Read!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alicen

    I first heard about this book and its author via this interview on NPR: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/02/12... Jay Williams' story seemed so compelling I decided to read his memoir, even though it is about the world of professional basketball and very different from my own, and I am glad I did. The writing style sometimes got a little choppy but overall I found this to be an interesting read. I first heard about this book and its author via this interview on NPR: http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2016/02/12... Jay Williams' story seemed so compelling I decided to read his memoir, even though it is about the world of professional basketball and very different from my own, and I am glad I did. The writing style sometimes got a little choppy but overall I found this to be an interesting read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Ritter Guendel

    A Duke national player of the year (twice) to a second round NBA draft pick for the Chicago Bulls, Jay Williams saw all his dreams vanish in an instant after a gruesome motorcycle accident. What follows is a harrowing and painful recovery. His memoir is an honest recap of his bouts with severe depression, vulnerability, drug addiction and disappointments. Finding his peace to become the confident and successful man he is today was a journey that took years of experiences.

  5. 4 out of 5

    John

    Not your typical sports bio. This is a sad tale of a career that was cut short by youthful folly. At the age of 21, a wild motorcycle ride without a helmet robbed Jay Williams of his lifelong dream. Williams is not your stereotypical man-child propelled from the inner city into NBA stardom. He graduated from Duke in 3 years and passed up a chance to turn pro after his sophomore year. His perspectives on the NCAA and AAU exploitation of student-athletes is convincing. When it comes to the standar Not your typical sports bio. This is a sad tale of a career that was cut short by youthful folly. At the age of 21, a wild motorcycle ride without a helmet robbed Jay Williams of his lifelong dream. Williams is not your stereotypical man-child propelled from the inner city into NBA stardom. He graduated from Duke in 3 years and passed up a chance to turn pro after his sophomore year. His perspectives on the NCAA and AAU exploitation of student-athletes is convincing. When it comes to the standard fodder of NBA bios - wealth, women, booze, drugs - Williams is more subdued. Although he confesses to an occasional blunt or bump, his primary addiction involved the painkillers used to treat his accident. For basketball fans, there is a wealth of insights on the game, the players, the coaches and the institutions. His criticisms of sports agents, "runners" and sponsors are spot on. Probably deserves a 5 but JDub admittedly is a work in progress. With his transition from the court to the announcer's booth, he is still honing his chops. He has a lot of living and learning to do and is young enough to write a sequel.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Johannesen

    I read the book Life is not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention by Jay Williams. I came into this book knowing a little bit about Jay because I am a huge college basketball fan so of course I listen to him on TV all the time with him an analyst for ESPN. He is a very smart and entertaining speaker, and I think that helped him write this book. Throughout this book, there are very interesting stories that he tells his readers. For example, some of my favorite excerpts are from during his recounts I read the book Life is not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention by Jay Williams. I came into this book knowing a little bit about Jay because I am a huge college basketball fan so of course I listen to him on TV all the time with him an analyst for ESPN. He is a very smart and entertaining speaker, and I think that helped him write this book. Throughout this book, there are very interesting stories that he tells his readers. For example, some of my favorite excerpts are from during his recounts of his time in the NBA. Being a basketball guy, it was fascinating getting an inside peak of the crazy lifestyle that these lucky individuals get to live. During his rookie year with the Chicago Bulls, a lot went on. He talks about the ridiculous amount of money players have. On road trips, players gambled a lot of money. Jay learned a lesson right away about gambling after losing big to NBA veteran Jamal Crawford. He reveals he lost $10,000 in one flight. He even tells his audience that he believed 75-80% of NBA players smoke marijuana. You can tell how honest he is in detailing his life, and it makes the book that much more interesting. However, the best part about this book is that it is truly inspiring. He writes of his struggles from making it to the top, to hitting rock bottom after his injury and dealing with depression. He shows that he has a very human side by making some mistakes, but the perseverance he shows throughout his recovery is tremendous. Throughout this book Williams teaches his readers the important lesson of learning lessons from every trial and tribulation. When I looked at other people's reviews of the book on goodreads, many people mentioned that they were shocked about how honest and deep this memoir was. I think many people would be surprised when reading this book the way I and many other readers were. Jay shares a lot of deep, personal things about his life that many people are shocked to read. For instance, he shares his lowest low with his readers when he talks about the time his mom walked in on him trying to kill himself with scissors in the hospital after his injury. He shares his battle with oxycontin addiction from being prescribed pain medication for so long. He even tells about his unfaithfulness to his girlfriend and why their relationship ended. After reading this book I have a very high level of respect for Jay Williams, and I love hearing what he has to say on ESPN and Social media. I would like to thank him for sharing his life with those who read this book because it was incredibly inspiring.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James Hilton

    The book Life is not an accident is a memoir by Jay Williams. I love this book because it is easy to read and it involves one of my favorite sports. This is a redemption story. Where the main character Jay Williams is recalling upon an event that happened years before. Jay was a top prospect drafted number two overall in the draft. He had a decent first season averaging 10 points and 5 assists. But that didn’t matter when he got into an accident that permanently damaged his leg. After this he fel The book Life is not an accident is a memoir by Jay Williams. I love this book because it is easy to read and it involves one of my favorite sports. This is a redemption story. Where the main character Jay Williams is recalling upon an event that happened years before. Jay was a top prospect drafted number two overall in the draft. He had a decent first season averaging 10 points and 5 assists. But that didn’t matter when he got into an accident that permanently damaged his leg. After this he fell into a deep dark depression and then he found a way out. I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars because it is truly amazing that a person can make that much of a comeback not to play again but to live a normal life.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ric

    I love J-Will as a college basketball analyst, and as someone who is an alumnus of the same high school as him I’ve always respected his game as well. So hearing him share his story was incredibly powerful on a personal level to me, and this book was truly incredible. It’s probably one of my favorite memoirs that I’ve ever read because of how deep and inspiring it is, and I know it’s one that I’ll revisit in the future.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Che

    I wanted to read this after watching the Best Shot series and being impressed by how Jay interacted with the young men, helping them navigate the obstacles in their lives. This was an unapologetic and inspirational account of resilience and responsibility.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Favian

    Heartbreakingly beautiful. Jay Williams bares it all in his memoir, taking us through the lowest points of his life and the numerous setbacks he had to face during his physical, psychological, and emotional recovery. “The past should be left in the past or it can steal your future. Live life for what today can bring and not what yesterday has taken away.”

  11. 5 out of 5

    7 Braylen B

    I loved the book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alan Geygan

    One of the rawest biographies I have ever read. The first two chapters made me cringe the whole time. I could not put this book down. From the insight he shared on the basketball court to the brutal honesty and vulnerability, Jay lays it all out there. He's a clear example that life will have plenty of ups and downs, but it's how you respond to them that makes all the difference. He had to hit rock bottom multiple times, but ultimately he shows that we can overcome any obstacle, no matter how bi One of the rawest biographies I have ever read. The first two chapters made me cringe the whole time. I could not put this book down. From the insight he shared on the basketball court to the brutal honesty and vulnerability, Jay lays it all out there. He's a clear example that life will have plenty of ups and downs, but it's how you respond to them that makes all the difference. He had to hit rock bottom multiple times, but ultimately he shows that we can overcome any obstacle, no matter how big.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Yichen Wang

    I enjoy reading memoirs and reflections by athletes as I identify well with that psychology from growing up in sports towns and loving the game of basketball myself. This book shows a very intimate look into a rising superstar and one of the top prospects in basketball who had his career cut short from a tragic road accident that could happen to anyone. This is a story covering Jay's mindset and circumstances growing up - how a talented athlete supported by strong values and mentors navigated hi I enjoy reading memoirs and reflections by athletes as I identify well with that psychology from growing up in sports towns and loving the game of basketball myself. This book shows a very intimate look into a rising superstar and one of the top prospects in basketball who had his career cut short from a tragic road accident that could happen to anyone. This is a story covering Jay's mindset and circumstances growing up - how a talented athlete supported by strong values and mentors navigated his way through school to make his way to the NBA. And the adjustment it takes to survive, yes even as a world-class talent, survive, in the NBA. Eventually we go through Jay's rehab phase, and see the transition from a pro-athlete on the fast track, to the harsh reality of a post-professional athlete life that comes at least a decade before expected. Jay's very honest and reflective about his experiences. He recognizes it's thanks to the people in his life that he's made it as far as he did, and that it was his family and mentors who helped him get through the toughest challenge of his life. Through it all we see what goes on behind the scenes in order for him to stay strong and continue to find success in life. There's a little of Jay Williams inside everyone, and I found this story rewarding to read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Zach Zei

    I read Life is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention by Jay Williams. I choose this book because I knew who Jay Williams was and was intrigued by the title. While I knew who Jay Williams was I didn’t know his entire story and what he went through. All I knew was that he was a point guard that played for the bulls at one point. I really enjoyed the stories he told about everyday life in the NBA. Since they are these rich athletes that are on TV we see them as gods, but this memoir shows how ev I read Life is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention by Jay Williams. I choose this book because I knew who Jay Williams was and was intrigued by the title. While I knew who Jay Williams was I didn’t know his entire story and what he went through. All I knew was that he was a point guard that played for the bulls at one point. I really enjoyed the stories he told about everyday life in the NBA. Since they are these rich athletes that are on TV we see them as gods, but this memoir shows how even these great athletes have tons of problems in their life just like a normal person. During the book Williams went through pretty much his whole life starting from the early years of his childhood. I feel that the beginning of the book isn’t exactly slow but it doesn’t reach the main problem until about halfway through the book. Not to say his stories weren’t interesting but his reinvention didn’t come for a while. Williams was on the bulls when he was involved in very bad motorcycle accident that resulted in a severed main nerve in his leg, fractured pelvis and three dislocated ligaments in his left knee including the ACL. He required physical therapy to regain the use of his leg. To add insult to injury he the bulls drafted a point guard only a week after the accident to replace him. He went through a time of deep depression that was extremely difficult to get out of. In the end Williams would return to basketball, but he was not nearly the same player that he was before. And he now works as an analyst for ESPN doing lots of college basketball games. My favorite passage was in the last chapter when he was playing basketball with a pastor. Williams and the pastor were on the same team so when Williams began to get chippy with another player the pastor stepped in to protect him. Keeping in mind that they had met earlier that day. This moved him so much he decided to go to his church sermon, and it changed his perspective completely. All of the comments on the book are very positive and inspiring, which I completely agree with. Williams was put in an impossible position and ended up coming out of it with his head held high.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Interesting read. A little heavy on the play-by-play of the games he chose to detail (I'm not really a sports person). I thought it read more like a summary - there was no clear reason, no flow, into why and how he changed as a person. I also thought it ended a bit abruptly. There was a lot of talk through of his basketball years (including the post injury time when he was trying to get back into it) but his time as a broadcaster seemed pretty glossed over and fast. I read this because my 16 year Interesting read. A little heavy on the play-by-play of the games he chose to detail (I'm not really a sports person). I thought it read more like a summary - there was no clear reason, no flow, into why and how he changed as a person. I also thought it ended a bit abruptly. There was a lot of talk through of his basketball years (including the post injury time when he was trying to get back into it) but his time as a broadcaster seemed pretty glossed over and fast. I read this because my 16 year old nephew asked me to buy him a copy to read (omg, will a buy him a book? Yes and yes and YES! There was a copy on the way to his house before the email was even three minutes old) and I think it's an excellent read for young athletes. He talks about college recruiting, the pressures of the sport while in school and to go pro, the unique influences and lifestyles that come w/ professional player status and how all that is amplified by the youth of the people it affects. Best of all, he talks about all the things he wished he'd known in high school/college/the draft and the NBA. I think this would be relevant regardless of the sport in question. And hopefully, the source of this information penetrates it's way into the skull of any young man reading it =] And while it isn't so much explicitly stated, the lesson that one should never define oneself entirely upon a single thing that you DO is a good one. I thought it a worthwhile read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    From high school, to Duke University, to the NBA, to a motorcycle accident with no helmet, to a brief return to the NBA, and then on to ESPN, Jason David “Jay” Williams, not to be confused with Jayson Williams, had it all, lost it all, and then found it again, but not on the basketball court. I’m not interested in basketball at all, but my dad gave me Williams’ book, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention , so I decided to read it. Last year I read Dwight Gooden’s book, Doc: A Mem From high school, to Duke University, to the NBA, to a motorcycle accident with no helmet, to a brief return to the NBA, and then on to ESPN, Jason David “Jay” Williams, not to be confused with Jayson Williams, had it all, lost it all, and then found it again, but not on the basketball court. I’m not interested in basketball at all, but my dad gave me Williams’ book, Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention , so I decided to read it. Last year I read Dwight Gooden’s book, Doc: A Memoir . I had no interest in baseball either, but I had read some good reviews about it that piqued my interest. I was pretty much expecting the same story from Jason Williams that I got from Dwight Gooden. Well, it is the same story – but then again it isn’t. It seems that so many books written by professional athletes all tell the same tale. You would think that with all the athletes who have experienced the quick-to-rise-easy-to-fall-from-grace lifecycle that the “newbies” entering the world of professional sports would take heed. But they don’t. The cycle continues and we hear to same ‘ol story over and over again. Rags to riches. Single parent home – dad nowhere to be found/don’t know who he is/in prison. Running with gangs. Sex. Drugs. Crime. All-night parties. Inflated ego. Groupies. Entourages.It’s interesting to note the way in which the public responds to athletes when they fall from grace. ~Take for instance Michael Vick. He served time for dog fighting. Vick went on to play for three NFL teams after being released. Even after he served his time the level of hate ranks of the charts. Mike has consistently been voted as one of the most hated athletes. ~Then there’s Ray Carruth, who had his pregnant girlfriend killed. The baby (Chancellor Lee) survived, but he is severely disabled. He is being cared for by his grandmother who is moving along in age to a point where she may need care herself. So what becomes of this child? Carruth from what I’ve read has never reach out to either one of them. Carruth is scheduled to be release in 2018. Perhaps once he’s out of prison, the reaction will be the same towards him as it’s been toward Michael Vick. Or then again maybe not. ~Then there’s Ben Roethlisberger with the Steelers who has had allegations of sexual misconduct against him. Ben also was in a motorcycle accident while not wearing a helmet; he thankfully didn’t suffer the same fate as Jason Williams. There’s John McEnroe and his tantrums that he used to throw on the tennis court. Pete Rose, Mike Tyson, Björn Borg, Johnny Manziel, and so many more. Some have continued to have success in their chosen sport, while others have reinvented themselves. I wish every professional athlete, and everyone who wants to be a professional athlete, and the parents of future professional athletes would read this book. Yes, it’s kinda the same story, but not quite. There are some really important lessons (and warnings) in this book. Jason’s parents were very involved in his college and NBA decisions. They met with coaches and asked great questions. He shared the story of his meeting with Coach K at Duke. The things Coach K offered me were values – values that were already in line with the ones instilled in me by my parents. He said he wanted to sharpen them…He added that he came from the old school where being on time is late-that you should be here early and should stay late afterwards. Mediocrity would not be rewarded, so if you came here, you were coming here to be the best. Music to my dad’s ears. (page58) His parents were also involved in helping him be responsible with his money, although he did splurge on some items, including the motorcycle involved in the accident. Jason also talks about the importance of knowing the business. College sports and professional sports are a business. Players need to know and understand this. He shares of story of speaking with a group of kids at a basketball camp and he asks, Who wants to be an NBA draft pick? and then he asks Who in here loves math?. No hands are raised for the second question. He walks them through the scenario of being a draft pick- how much money they’ll make-how much they’ll spend on cars, homes, and gifts-and how much they’ll pay in taxes. Jason tells them that math is important. …they begin to understand that it might be a good idea to pay more attention in math class, to learn a little about the business and economics…(page 209). I could relate to Jason on a couple of things- one of those is being an only child. He states, Being an only child had its obvious advantages-no annoying siblings and a room to myself-but it also got lonely at times. Maybe that’s why I overthink things so much as an adult, never having had brothers or sisters to talk to while growing up(page29). The second has to do with his name. His real name is Jason David Williams. It was decided that he needed to distinguish himself from Jayson Williams, who had been accused of manslaughter, and Jason “White Chocolate” Williams. One morning there was a newspaper article about him in the sports section stating that he changed his name from Jason to Jay. He wasn’t told about it ahead of time. He said it marked a turning point after which my life no longer felt like my own” (page 113). I can related to this in the sense that my name is Angela, but numerous people have decided to call me Angie- which I hate. Towards the end of the book he shares this. It really speaks to my soul. Someone once told me that people are like trees. Every tree has leaves, branches, and roots. Some people are leaves-hanging there for a minute, but a gust of wind can come along and they’re gone. Some people are branches-holding firm for a while until something more powerful occurs and they snap and break away. Then, if you are extremely lucky, you meet a root. A root is a person who holds firm regardless of the elements. I now have roots in my life. And those roots have anchored me to a very special place that I call home, no matter where I live in the world. Well said Jason!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rohit

    This book was one of the best books I have ever read in the sports genre. Even if you are not a sports fan, the story behind Jay Williams journey to Duke basketball, to getting drafted to the Chicago Bulls and then the unfortunate accident that put an abrupt end to his professional basketball career is definitely something that really captured my emotions and thoughts on the idea of how quickly life can just happen. Not to get overly detailed on this book, the overall delivery of this book is wh This book was one of the best books I have ever read in the sports genre. Even if you are not a sports fan, the story behind Jay Williams journey to Duke basketball, to getting drafted to the Chicago Bulls and then the unfortunate accident that put an abrupt end to his professional basketball career is definitely something that really captured my emotions and thoughts on the idea of how quickly life can just happen. Not to get overly detailed on this book, the overall delivery of this book is what really intrigued me, Jay Williams in ways wrote this book as if it was his personal diary of his life up to this point, being a Jay Williams fan on ESPN, I often felt as if I was in some of the environments he was describing, whether he was talking about is multiple comebacks to the NBA after his accident or his journey to being an agent, it really kept me glued to understand the trials and tribulations Jay Will had to face. The book does close off in "motivational" book, but in no way did it seem like a "self-help" book, and rather it was a book that told the story of a former athlete who faced a very unfortunate event that had to scramble to find a way to reinvent himself after having to give up the only thing he was familiar with and good at.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jasmin Begić

    This man could have have it all, for he was a star, he was a true star, he was a true basketball star with a very promising NBA career ahead of him. But in one moment, in one moment in time, he threw it all away, for by a miracle he survived an accident that could have as well cost him his life. He was gifted life once again, but his dream, his dream of becoming an NBA star, and to play in the best, the strongest, and most powerful basketball league in the world, was taken away from him, for he This man could have have it all, for he was a star, he was a true star, he was a true basketball star with a very promising NBA career ahead of him. But in one moment, in one moment in time, he threw it all away, for by a miracle he survived an accident that could have as well cost him his life. He was gifted life once again, but his dream, his dream of becoming an NBA star, and to play in the best, the strongest, and most powerful basketball league in the world, was taken away from him, for he couldn't do anything about it anymore. So this book is pretty much a tearjerker, for you will cry, you will cry a lot, reading all about his pain he had to survive through. But then you'll get hope, you will see that even though a dream was taken away from this man he started dreaming a new dream, a new kind of dream, he completely, fully, and entirely reinvented himself. Even though he lost one dream, he gained a new dream, and by the looks of it, where he is right now, he made it happen. So I have nothing but complete amazement for this man. He proved that even though you lose your dream, you can still find yourself in it, whilst building and dreaming a new one. Blessings

  19. 4 out of 5

    John

    Jay Williams recounts his mistakes and how he overcame challenges to get where he is today. One year in the NBA and a career thrown out from a bad decision. I think this book would be inspirational to someone who may have a life altering injury taking away the thing that made them thrive in life. I could feel his pain and struggle. His tone sways from being an unbelievably amazing God person to "who am I" moments. Unfortunately this reads as much of an autobiography that is supposed to carry dee Jay Williams recounts his mistakes and how he overcame challenges to get where he is today. One year in the NBA and a career thrown out from a bad decision. I think this book would be inspirational to someone who may have a life altering injury taking away the thing that made them thrive in life. I could feel his pain and struggle. His tone sways from being an unbelievably amazing God person to "who am I" moments. Unfortunately this reads as much of an autobiography that is supposed to carry deep meaning. However he sort of summarizes his way of overcoming in a brief few pages at the end. The most enjoyment I got out of the book was from the insight he provides about playing for coach K and the completive nature of the NBA where they are out there competing night out for minutes and distrusting one another. Also, J Will outs a former teammate who lit up during a game and was craving some popcorn while on the bench. Pretty entertaining at times for sure.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    A great read. Honest, compelling, and I loved his vulnerability. But I am not a basketball fan and so the play-by-play of so many games went over my head and bored me. I would still recommend this book for the many lessons on learning to be yourself and to believe in yourself and to work hard for what you want. I wish the end of the book was longer (I felt then end was quite abrupt), as I wanted to know about how he developed his sports broadcasting skills. He works hard at everything he desires A great read. Honest, compelling, and I loved his vulnerability. But I am not a basketball fan and so the play-by-play of so many games went over my head and bored me. I would still recommend this book for the many lessons on learning to be yourself and to believe in yourself and to work hard for what you want. I wish the end of the book was longer (I felt then end was quite abrupt), as I wanted to know about how he developed his sports broadcasting skills. He works hard at everything he desires, so I wanted to know how he did that at ESPN.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul Miller

    Must read for any Duke basketball fan who just loved this guy as a player as I did. We all know about the motorcycle ride and the end of a promising NBA career and his appearances today on ESPN. This book tells you everything in between - in a very direct, honest way. The sliminess of college basketball, the beyond sliminess of the NBA (those guys really are NOT role models), and most compellingly, the behaviors and attitudes of a too spoiled, too rich, self-centered athlete like himself in his Must read for any Duke basketball fan who just loved this guy as a player as I did. We all know about the motorcycle ride and the end of a promising NBA career and his appearances today on ESPN. This book tells you everything in between - in a very direct, honest way. The sliminess of college basketball, the beyond sliminess of the NBA (those guys really are NOT role models), and most compellingly, the behaviors and attitudes of a too spoiled, too rich, self-centered athlete like himself in his 20's.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Pershelle Rohrer

    This was one of the most inspirational books I have read. From Jay Williams' accident to his rehabilitation, endless setbacks, and eventual transition to careers as an agent and broadcaster, this book details his life surrounding the game of basketball. Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention details Williams' mistakes from his young adult years and how he used them to live his life with purpose despite giving up a long NBA career as a result of his motorcycle accident. This book was we This was one of the most inspirational books I have read. From Jay Williams' accident to his rehabilitation, endless setbacks, and eventual transition to careers as an agent and broadcaster, this book details his life surrounding the game of basketball. Life Is Not an Accident: A Memoir of Reinvention details Williams' mistakes from his young adult years and how he used them to live his life with purpose despite giving up a long NBA career as a result of his motorcycle accident. This book was well written, interesting, and detailed. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nabeel Nasir

    A captivating book by one of the best college-basketball players ever. Jay recounts the reckless lifestyle he lived that led to his tragic motorcycle accident that cost him his NBA career and millions of dollars in future earnings. In the book, he discusses his struggle to recover and find a new purpose in life. After reading this, you can't help but root for Jay that he makes the most out of the rest of his life. A captivating book by one of the best college-basketball players ever. Jay recounts the reckless lifestyle he lived that led to his tragic motorcycle accident that cost him his NBA career and millions of dollars in future earnings. In the book, he discusses his struggle to recover and find a new purpose in life. After reading this, you can't help but root for Jay that he makes the most out of the rest of his life.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danell Nicholson

    This book is a biography about the life of a promising basketball star who was a high school All-American and attended Duke University where he played three years of Division 1 basketball and in those three years he became a college superstar. After his three seasons at Duke he declared for the NBA Draft where he was picked second by the Chicago bulls. After a successful rookie season with the Chicago Bulls Williams got into a motorcycle accident which ended his promising basketball career.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

    Before I read this book, I only knew Jay Williams as a sports commentator for ESPN. It was amazing to hear his life story. The hardships he battled with his motorcycle accident, relationships, and road back to basketball were remarkable and inspirational to say the least. Many lessons can be taken from this book, and one is that there will be unfavorable changes in life, but the way we respond makes a big difference.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kevin Stumpf

    Been a Duke fan since 1985 so I thought this book would be about his rise and recovery. BUT this book jumped around quite a bit. Seems to enjoy name dropping “just because”. And threw a few people under the bus...as a sense of retaliation? I did not know all of his struggles after his accident or the suicide attempts. I did not remember his multiple attempts to play again. I enjoy him as a studio contributor and am glad he has found some peace after all he has been through.

  27. 4 out of 5

    SC Russell

    Not the best book I've read but glad I read it for all the interesting basketball trivia it has brought me. I now know more about the Chicago Bulls behind the scenes bad boys than I ever needed to know. Fascinating! Always good to see someone like Jay Williams use his tragic story to inspire. He is brave! Not the best book I've read but glad I read it for all the interesting basketball trivia it has brought me. I now know more about the Chicago Bulls behind the scenes bad boys than I ever needed to know. Fascinating! Always good to see someone like Jay Williams use his tragic story to inspire. He is brave!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Absolutely incredible telling of the struggles and triumphs of a young mans life. You’ll laugh, you’ll smile, you’ll even cry on the train on the way to work with this emotional and UPLIFTING tale. Absolutely inspiring story. Huge fan of Jay Williams and basketball - excellent read!!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    Over the past few years I have read dozens and dozens of books on the game of basketball. This is among the top 5 or 6 that I have read. A very solid and in-depth read that is more than just a basketball book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    J.

    Superb memoir - highly readable and moving. Jay shares his flaws, doubts, mistakes, and fears in a surprisingly open way that should make us all reflect on how unfairly we judge ourselves and others, and how we can move forward to become better people and do good in this world.

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