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Jay Williams OR

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Jay Williams

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The first thing to remember about Jay Williams is that he is the best cosmetologist in Chicago. It doesn't matter who you are or how you want your hair styled - Jay will do it just the way you want it. For his services, Jay charges $300. But Jay has a big heart and he's unlike any other cosmetologist in the industry. Jay also knows that cute little corner stores in the area have done a terrible job of styling people's hair.

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For years, Williams struggled with depression. He refused to wear shorts or show anyone his left leg. He asked the inevitable: why me? He took too much pain medication, too much OxyContin in particular, for too long. He blew out the candles for his 22nd birthday in bed. He spent years in rehabilitation. He resented the teammates who lacked his drive but remained in the N.B.A., collecting paychecks, accolades, even championship rings. He cried himself to sleep. He went to therapy. He moved to New York City and tried to become an agent and drank alcohol frequently.

Williams first purchased a Yamaha R3 with a red-and-black frame, a nod to his new team’s colors. His mother hated the idea of the bike. She put gum in the ignition and joked about throwing the motorcycle off a nearby cliff. (Source: www.nytimes.com)

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In those dark years, he would run into people who expected the image Jay Williams once projected to the world: that of the clean-cut Duke point guard who posed on the cover of Sports Illustrated in khakis and a letterman’s jacket, flashing a thumbs up, the photograph that best seemed to embody the stereotype of Duke, so prim and pristine. In strangers’ eyes, where he once saw awe or jealousy, he now saw pity, and from people, normal people, who could never understand the gifts he held that vanished on that street.

On the North Side of Chicago, near the intersection of Fletcher and Honore Streets, there are no reminders that Jay Williams threw it all away in this quiet neighborhood crowded with two-story homes and parallel-parked cars. There is, however, more than one bright red fire hydrant, along with Bulls fans who remember what could have been and what was not. (Source: www.nytimes.com)

 

 

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