What happened to Jayson Williams? The life story of the former NBA star

What happened to Jayson Williams? The life story of the former NBA star

Kevin Omuya
updated at December 2, 2023 at 4:31 PM

Jayson Williams is a retired American professional basketball player. He is best known for his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets, although he was forced to retire after about ten years due to injury. Various legal issues notably marred his athletic career. What happened to Jayson Williams? This article delves into the life story of the former NBA star.

What happened to Jayson Williams?
Former NBA player Jayson Williams poses for a photo during the John Starks Foundation Celebrity Bowling Night on February 18, 2015, at Lucky Strike Lanes in New York City. Photo: A Marlin
Source: Getty Images

Williams was an NBA player with the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers. Williams entered a guilty plea to assault in 2010 after the unintentional gunshot death of a limousine driver. He was freed from jail in April 2012 after serving a 27-month term.

Profile summary



Full name

Jayson Williams




55 years old as of 2023

Date of birth

February 22, 1968

Place of birth

New York, US




2.6m (6'9")


109kg (240lbs)

Eye colour

Dark brown

Hair colour



Former professional basketball player


Power forward



Net worth

$40 million

Social media

Instagram, X (Twitter)

Jayson Williams' biography

Jayson Williams' biography
Former NBA player Jayson Williams speaks at Wadleigh High School for the Performing Arts In Harlem on August 25, 2012, in New York City. Photo: Johnny Nunez
Source: Getty Images

On February 22, 1968, Jayson Williams was born in South Carolina. Williams is the son of Barbara Williams and Elijah Joshua. He is an African-American.

His mother was employed at the lower Manhattan Gouverneur skilled care home. Williams was a member of the basketball teams at both St. John's University and Christ The King Regional High School in New York City.

Jayson Williams' sisters

HIV/AIDS claimed the life of Williams's drug-addicted elder sister, Laura, in 1988 when he was a student at St. John's University. Williams's 26-year-old half-sister Linda contracted AIDS a few years before, at the age of 15, after receiving a blood transfusion. She was battered with a hammer and mugged before contracting the condition.

Who is Jayson Williams' wife?

During a basketball game 1996, Jayson proposed to Cynthia Bailey, his then-girlfriend. Bailey gained notoriety as a model and for her roles in television programs including "The Cosby Show" and "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." In the end, Williams and Bailey broke up.

In 1999, Jayson tied the knot with Kellie Batiste. But the couple split very soon after. He wed Tanya Young in 2000 after she was cast in the television series "Basketball Wives: LA." This would be his longest marriage despite Williams and Young's 2011 divorce.

Jayson Williams' career

Jayson Williams' career
New Jersey Nets' Jayson Williams (55) in action vs Houston Rockets' Hakeem Olajuwon (34) at Continental Airlines Arena. Photo: Manny Millan
Source: Getty Images
  • Jayson was chosen by the Phoenix Suns in 1990. On October 28, 1990, the Suns exchanged his draft rights for a 1993 first-round draft pick with the Philadelphia 76ers. Williams was moved to the New Jersey Nets after spending two seasons as a reserve player with the 76ers.
  • Before securing a full-time starting spot in the 1996–97 season, he only managed to garner 12 starts in his first three seasons with the Nets.
  • Jayson had a breakout year the following season, ranking in the top five in total rebounds per game, offensive rating, and authentic rebound %. He also led the conference in offensive rebounds and gross rebound percentage.
  • When he shattered his right leg in 1999, his career abruptly ended. He had career-ending surgery the next day, requiring the insertion of a plate and five screws into his leg.
  • When Jayson was thirty-two years old in 2000, he declared his retirement. He was one year into a six-year, $90 million deal at the time of the injury.

Jayson Williams' stats

The former NBA player had a career in the NBA from 1990 to 1999. Here are some of his career statistics:

  • Points per game (PPG): 7.3
  • Rebounds per game (RPG): 7.5
  • Assists per game (APG): 1.0
  • Field goal percentage: 50.8%
  • Free throw percentage: 64.4%

During his playing career, Jayson was known for his rebounding skills and defensive presence. These statistics are averages over his entire NBA career and may vary slightly from season to season.

Jayson Williams' net worth

Jaysn Williams' net worth
Jayson Williams attends the Moving Mountains For The Arts Award Gala at 26 Bridge Street on June 7, 2016, in New York City. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik
Source: Getty Images

As of November 2023, Jayson Williams’ net worth is estimated to be roughly $40 Million. He is best known for his time with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets, enabling him to achieve various awards and thus increase his worth.

Jayson Williams' NBA earnings

When Jayson retired, he was just a year into a six-year, $86 million deal with the Nets. Nearly the whole agreement was given to him, and the Nets paid their portion via insurance. His lifetime earnings of $121 million included $35 million from prior NBA contracts, which he earned outside his most recent deal.

Jayson Williams' legal issues
Former New Jersey Nets centre Jayson Williams listens to testimony during his April 20, 2004 trial in Somerville, New Jersey. Photo: Kathy Johnson-Pool
Source: Getty Images

Jayson has had several legal challenges during his life. He was charged with striking a customer at a Chicago pub in 1992. He was arrested in 1994 for shooting a firearm into the Meadowlands Sports Complex parking lot. He never, however, had to deal with any legal repercussions for any of these actions.

However, he could not avoid jail time in 2002 when he tried to conceal the passing of Costas "Gus" Christofi, his limo driver. It seems that Williams was playing with a shotgun when the weapon accidentally discharged, killing the 55-year-old motorist. Many people saw the event, including the full NBA charity basketball team.

Jayson was detained in North Carolina for simple assault in 2009 as well. However, the charges were later dropped. His legal issues persisted, and in 2010, he entered a guilty plea to aggravated assault. He was ultimately given a five-year jail term in 2010.

He also committed a DWI during this time, for which he was given an extra year in prison. Jayson crashed his Mercedes into a tree in the well-reported incident. He ultimately served over a year in jail for the murder of his limo driver before being granted transfer to Rikers Island, where he was housed for eight months until being freed in 2012.

Where is Jayson Williams, and what does he do now?

In 2022, St. John's University intended to induct Williams into their Athletics Hall of Fame. He is now a recovery advocate and founded a Rebound program at Futures Recovery Health Care in Florida.

Final word

What happened to Jayson Williams? he was involved in a shooting incident at his New Jersey mansion, resulting in the death of his limousine driver. Williams was charged with various offences. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and was sentenced to prison. It has been a challenging journey for him, both professionally and personally.

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Kevin Omuya photo
Kevin Omuya
Kevin Omuya is a Content Writer with 4 years of experience who joined Sports Brief in 2022. In 2019 he held a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Digital Media from KCA University.