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Ball Don't Lie

Former All-Star Jayson Williams, the ‘Moses of Rikers,’ is writing a new book

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Jayson Williams and unidentified other guy from the 1990s (Getty Images)

Many of the stories, like the ages-old suburban legend about finding an extension cord leading from his house to former teammate Armen Gilliam's back porch, are apocryphal. Some of the tales, like the one about nearly shooting former New York Jet Wayne Chrebet in the face while goofing around with rifles, are frightening. And it's only the second-best basketball book entitled "Loose Balls" ever published. Still, Jayson Williams' decades-old memoir "Loose Balls" is still a fascinating, and hilarious, read. Apparently Williams, the former New Jersey Net now serving a year-long prison sentence for driving under the influence, is writing a new book. The title, "Humbled," seems appropriate.

Williams was one of the more famous basketball personalities of the late 1990s, turning what was once a middling NBA career into a lucrative one once he decided to turn into a rebounding specialist. Fame -- including friendships with Danny Aiello and a spot on NBC's last-ditch attempt to emulate TNT's "Inside the NBA" camaraderie on its in-studio NBA show -- soon followed. So did a horrific knee injury, a failed comeback, and Williams' implication in the accidental shooting death of a limo driver after a night out partying with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Christopher Hughes, who was imprisoned alongside Williams and recently interviewed by the New York Post, had this to relay about the former All-Star he termed "the Moses of Rikers" on Monday:

Williams worked as a suicide-prevention assistant for a week on the midnight shift, to help inmates who were contemplating killing themselves, Hughes told us.

Jayson, also a former Philadelphia 76er, who receives "tons" of mail and spends four hours a day writing back, is also penning a second book, "Humbled," which includes the bombshell that he was sexually abused as a child.

"It's raw," said Hughes, who read excerpts while in prison.

Despite the goofy title and cheery tone, Williams' first book is sadly foretelling and also quite raw at times, and definitely worth the read even in spite of the distaste you should have for Williams' life gone wrong.

Williams wouldn't be the first guy to turn his life around while in prison, but he also wouldn't be the first guy to briefly turn his life around in prison before falling back on old habits. Considering that he's working on his second stint in prison along with his second book, let's hope this brand of rehabilitation is as successful as his initial memoir was.

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