Jay Williams was the National Player of the Year in 2001, the year he led Duke to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. An exceptional student and athlete, when he left school early to enter the NBA draft he took his degree with him. The 6’2″ Williams had such a bright future he was the #2 pick in the draft, with only the 7’5″ Yao Ming of China being selected above him.
Williams was also a free spirit. And it’s a single life-changing moment that came as a result of that spirit that Williams has been battling for 12 years. In 2003 Williams crashed his motorcycle in Chicago, fracturing his pelvis and destroying his knee. He never played another professional basketball game. Williams wasn’t wearing a helmet–and riding a motorcycle was strictly forbidden in his Chicago Bulls contract. On Super Soul Sunday (March 15), Williams tells Oprah Winfrey he’s still working to forgive himself: “I felt like I had just thrown everything I worked for my entire life away.”