Kobe Bryant’s Opponent Reveals Why He Respects the Hell out of Black Mamba

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, middle, with NBA star Julius Erving and Lower Merion High School coach Gregg Downer in Philadelphia in 2015.

Getty Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, middle, with NBA star Julius Erving and Lower Merion High School coach Gregg Downer in Philadelphia in 2015.

Retired Chicago Bulls point guard turned radio host, Jay Williams is living his best life at the Worldwide Leader ESPN.

Heavy on Lakers With Scoop B and Jay WilliamsESPN analyst Jay Williams joins Heavy on Lakers to discuss NBA players' boycott of playoff games and the league's subsequent plans to restart the playoffs.2020-08-28T20:16:26Z

He’s doing television as an analyst on NBA Countdown with Jalen Rose, Stephen A. Smith and Maria Taylor. The Plainfield, NJ native is also co-hosts a morning radio show with Zubin Mehenti and Keyshawn Johnson.

Williams, 38, is opinionated, thoughtful and he reaches people. A former Duke University National Champion under legendary coach Mike Krzyzewski I asked Williams about his motorcycle accident in 2003 that ended his career after one season with the Chicago Bulls.

“The path that I was on, I think that I would’ve had a lot of money but I would have been miserable,” Jay Williams told Heavy Live With Scoop B.

Jay Williams, in the 2019 All-Star Celebrity Game

GettyJay Williams, in the 2019 All-Star Celebrity Game

“I didn’t have any foundation in my life, Scoop. I had no accountability, I did whatever I wanted when I did it and I don’t think I was living my life maliciously but, it was fast paced. You know, I was living so fast I never spent time thinking about anything and just to tie it back in you know, it’s so interesting to me dealing with the bubble and all these issues with social justice because the amount of pressure that is on these athletes is heavy man. Especially when guys haven’t had to spend a lot of their life thinking about real shit. You know what I mean Scoop? Because it’s always about moving on to the next. If you have money and you can fly in planes, you can buy whatever you want, you can purchase homes, you can work out and your life is so — as an athlete you’re taught in order to be successful, you have to be so myopic at something and it’s so a very one-directional relationship and it’s always what YOU need all the time. Or make sure that MY pregame rituals are this way. ”

Removed from that life and now on the media-side, Williams says that there are many that inspire him; including a Lakers legend. “That’s why I really respect the hell out of Kobe Bryant,” Jay Williams told Heavy Live With Scoop B.

“You know how hard it is to alter what your mentality has been for like, thirty plus years and then all of the sudden to then go: ‘It’s not about me, it’s about my kids. It’s about my wife.‘ It’s hard to do when your whole life has been about you and your needs. And for me when I got hurt, trying to come back it was all about me but then when I couldn’t do that I was like: ‘Oh, I’m not that special man?’ Right? Like, that was humbling. I’m ot that special? Damn. I got to work; my first job was making $35,000 a year and it just brought me back down like Icarus — crash from the sun. Damn! And it just recalibrated everything in my life. I didn’t have an accountant. I had to pay my own bills; I’m like, “Shit…I gotta pay bills? What’s an expense sheet? What the hell is that?” I got to itemize what I spent out. I only get paid and only I can spend $20 a day for food…what?!? Right? So it just changed the course in my life man, and that’s not easy to do.”