When last we saw former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams, he was pleading guilty to aggravated assault in the 2002 accidental shooting death of his chauffeur. That was more than two years ago. Including a separate guilty plea for drunken driving, Williams spent 26 months in jail before being released in April. Across the river from Manhattan, while "dressed in a New Jersey Nets T-shirt and Chicago Bulls practice shorts," Williams gave an extensive interview to the Associated Press—his first since his release—in which he made no attempt to hide from his past:
''People say, 'Jay, you're a great guy, you just had a couple of bad nights,''' Williams said. ''People that have themselves under control don't have a couple of bad nights like that. Plain and simple. I could have been better. That's my goal now, to be better.''
Williams hasn't had a drink in more than two years. He gave up his guns. He's volunteering. He wrote a book from prison in which he reveals he was sexually abused as a child. In the interview, Williams took full responsibility for his actions on the night he accidentally shot and killed Costas Christofi then coldly tried to cover it up—wiping off the weapon, placing it in Christofi's hands, stripping, and jumping in a pool:
"To be honest, you just think about the damage you caused, from the shooting to the irresponsible way I acted after,'' he said. ''It's just so painful, you try not to think of it. I acted that way. I've got to take responsibility.
''I've never been in trouble without alcohol,'' he said. ''So I took it away. I'm damn sure not going back to jail.''
I recommend reading the entire AP story. Jayson Williams is a 44-year-old former multi-millionaire who will spend the rest of his life wrestling with the guy he used to be. That's not going to be easy.