Former New Jersey Nets big man Jayson Williams has been freed from New York’s Rikers Island prison after a long list of legal issues that plagued him after his premature retirement from the league due to injury. Williams served eighth months on drunk driving charges in New York, this after serving 18 months in New Jersey for charges related to the 2002 shooting of 55-year old limo driver Costas “Gus” Christofi at his New Jersey estate.
Williams, who was in his prime before a career-ending leg injury from a collision with Stephon Marbury, has been dogged with the 10-year old case by way of a series of court trials. After being acquitted in 2004 of more serious charges, Williams was slapped with cover up charges. Williams was retried on aggravated assault charges stemming from the case, pleaded guilty in February 2010 and thus receieved a five-year sentence with possible parole in 18 months. That same year, he was charged after a January drunk driving incident in Manhattan which added time to his sentence.
In a statement released by his manager, Williams showed remorse for his actions. “I am eager to see my daughters, my mother and siblings and make amends for what they’ve been through,” said Williams. “Start my life over with God being first and in the center of everything I do.”
Jayson Williams was the 21st pick in the 1990 NBA draft after being selected by the Phoenix Suns and then quickly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. After two years, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets but didn’t flourish until much later in the career, making the All-Star team just once in 1998. When his career ending injury occurred, Williams was just in the start of his 6-year, $86 million dollar deal.
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Photo: Matt Rainey/AP