My father, an old school West-Indian man, respected anything that required talent, hardwork and discipline. So from birth my siblings and I have been sport fans. We've spent countless school nights in our pjs , ignoring bedtime and the scolding of our mother, watching the rhythmic intensity of tennis , transfixed by the delicate elegance of figure skating, and getting riled up by WWF's Royal Rumble - dad's personal favorite.
Over the years, we've adopted several professional athletes into the family, referring to them by their first name and memorizing their stats. To these select few we've remained faithful. We groan, yell, and curse at unfair calls made by bias game officials, give standing ovations for glorious plays that require heart, and cheer till our voices are hoarse when our favorites win.
In our household basketball will always reign supreme. My lil' brother has said numerous times that it is absolutely unacceptable for me to date anyone who doesn't play basketball. He doesn't have to be nice or hold NBA dreams, says June, just a great appreciation for the sport is enough.
Every fall since 2003 , without fail, I've asked June about Jay Williams. We've followed his journey as a star Blue Devil, assistant to Coack K's third NCAA basketball championship, college graduate within 3 years, and second overall pick of the NBA's 2002 draft by the Bulls. We were devastated when in June of 2003, Jay lost control of his motorcycle and crashed into a utlity pole. With three of the four ligaments in one knee torn, a fractured pelvis, and a severed nerve in his left leg, there was little hope he'd ever return to the court.
Earlier this week, out of habit and genuine curiousity about his condition, I asked June if he heard any recent news. He shared that he thought Jay was a sports commentator now, giving up any basketball aspirations since his near fatal crash. A few days later, my little brother called me to see an article on NBA.com about Jay playing the preseason with the Nets.
Tonight, we watched in disbelief as the New York Knicks played a game against the Nets, who sure enough had our man Jay Williams in their lineup.
They didn't win tonight, and that's okay. None of us are wishing for a championship ring. I'm simply happy that he is able to come back to a sport that he loves and the family loves watching him play. There have been many who have died from far less, Jay is blessed to have a second chance.
Last I heard, Jay wasn't picked up by the Nets for the season.