The daughters of former NBA All-Star Jayson Williams have blasted St. John’s for inducting their father into the school’s athletics hall of fame despite allegations of negligence in their lives following his participation in the deadly shooting of a limousine driver in 2002.
Tryumph and Whizdom Williams published open letters to St. John’s, suggesting the school should be embarrassed of his entrance into the class over homecoming weekend. Williams, 54, was imprisoned for more than a year for the unintentional shooting murder of chauffeur Costas Christofi.
Williams was accused by the sisters of negligence, mental and verbal abuse, and failing to give enough financial support after signing a six-year, $86 million contract with the New Jersey Nets.
Tryumph Jaye Williams, a 19-year-old theater student at DePaul, revealed allegations that Williams trapped her sister in a trash chute. Tryumph also blasted St. John’s for “potentially being fools and squandering money to celebrate Jayson Williams.”
“How come you’re being celebrated and admitted into the hall of fame yet I’ve always had to work for my survival, much alone my success, despite you?” “You should be ashamed of yourselves, St. John’s University,” she wrote.
Whizdom J Williams, an 18-year-old Fashion Institute of Technology student, said her father was an alcoholic and “a deadbeat parent who lacks any feeling of regret.” Williams declined to speak to the Associated Press. St. John’s intended to include Williams in the weekend event.
“Jayson Williams’ life experience encompasses childhood tragedy, time spent in a homeless shelter, addiction, jail, and rehabilitation, all of which affect countless American families.” St. John’s University would not comment on the family relationship between Jayson and his children, according to St. John’s spokesperson Brian Browne in an email reply to the AP.
“Part of the rehabilitation and redemption process is rebuilding trust, accepting aid, and finding comfort and support along the way, and that, along with his athletic accomplishments, is what St. John’s University honors with Jayson Williams this Homecoming weekend.”
Williams murdered Christofi with a 12-gauge shotgun while demonstrating it to friends at his New Jersey house, failing to check the weapon’s safety mechanism before snapping the gun shut.
According to Evidence
Williams then wiped off the firearm and left it in the hands of the driver, undressed naked, handed his clothing to a friend, and dived into his pool. Williams’ attorneys insisted that the gunshot was an accident and that his actions were motivated by fear.
When he was jailed for the shooting in 2010, he apologized to the victim’s family through tears. Williams, who was separated from Tanya, his kids’ mother, had paid Christofi’s family more than $2 million to settle a wrongful death claim in 2003.
Williams has subsequently developed the addiction recovery facility Rebound Institute in Florida, which has been hailed as a success story by St. John’s. However, according to his daughters, Williams never made apologies with them.
“I realized there was nothing I could do to change who my father was or how he saw and treated me,” Whizdom wrote. “I knew the regret and apologies were never going to come.” She also dedicated a poem to her father, “To the weakest guy I know, Jayson.”
Williams played nine seasons for the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, averaging 7.3 points and 7.5 rebounds. When he retired from the Nets in 2000 due to leg issues, the 6-foot-10 Williams was one of the NBA’s top rebounders.
He was a three-year starter at St. John’s under Hall of Fame coach Lou Carnesecca. Williams was a co-captain for St. John’s in 1989-90, when the team won 24 games and proceeded to the second round of the NCAA tournament. He was the 21st overall choice in the 1990 draft and concluded his NBA career with 3,472 points, 3,584 rebounds, and 301 blocks.
Williams will be inducted with 2016 Olympic high jumper Priscilla Frederick and 2016 Olympic fencing silver medallist Daryl Homer in a seven-person class at St. John’s.