Jay Williams opens up about career-ending injury on HBO’s ‘Real Sports’

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Sometimes, whenever certain athletes’ names are mentioned, you can’t help but think, “What if?” or “What could have been?”

Maybe that athlete was on his or her way to becoming the ‘next’ big thing in their particular sport. Or maybe it was just a shame the way their career had to end – and sad.

The Chicago Bulls made Jay Williams the second overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft. Williams earned NBA All-Rookie Second Team honors and showed flashes of why he had been a college standout at Duke and an NCAA Champion in 2001. A motorcycle accident following the season brought his promising NBA career to an immediate halt.

He tore every ligament in his knee. According to a New York Times profile on Williams in February, the injury left doctors fearing amputation and even worse – death.

The injury occurred ten years ago this month and HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ will examine what Williams life has been like since then. In a short clip from the interview released Monday, Williams discusses a memorable visit his college coach Mike Krzyzewski paid him during his time at the hospital. The visit wasn’t an easy one for the legendary coach.

“I tried to fight back tears,” Krzyzewski says in the clip released Monday. “I didn’t want him to see me emotional or weak.”

Williams recalls a pendant Coach K gave him with specific instructions.

“You give this back to me when you play again” he told Williams.

Williams never again played in the NBA – though his recovery and subsequent tryouts with the New Jersey Nets and later, the Miami Heat were nothing short of remarkable.

He is now a college basketball analyst for ESPN.

The full interview with Williams will air on HBO’s “Real Sports” Tuesday at 10 p.m.

Follow theGrio’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj