The daughters of former NBA star Jayson Williams, who served time for killing his limo driver, penned scathing letters blasting both their father and St. John’s University for inducting him into its hall of fame.
In separate open letters to their father that they said would be sent to the school, Tryumph and Whizdom Williams described the ex-athlete as an abusive, absentee dad undeserving of the honor. Williams, who earned over $60 million in his NBA career, served over two months in prison for the accidental shooting 20 years ago of chauffeur Costas Christofi in Williams’ New Jersey mansion.
“Why was I cleaning up your vomit from the aftermath of ambien-fueled binge from eating sushi that was supposed to be a gift for me?” wrote Tryumph Williams, a 19-year-old theater major at DePaul University. “Why did it happen before I even knew that pills, other than Flintstone vitamins, existed? Why is it that sushi is the only gift I ever remember receiving from my supposed-millionaire father? Why haven’t you been there financially or emotionally?”
Her 18-year-old sister was just as unsparing in her description of their father, calling him “an alcoholic, who was emotionally and verbally abusive, a deadbeat father who lacks any sense of remorse.” Whizdom Williams, a student at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology, included in her letter a heartbreaking poem about her pain growing up unloved by her father:
“To the weakest man I know, Jayson:
My whole life I’ve been told that ‘every dad wants to see himself in his child’
I have nearly wrecked myself in regret because I could never do that for you,
I dissected every part of myself in hopes of finding what you believed to be so unlovable.
I picked apart every pattern in my fingertip
Every ringlet on my head
Every crevice in my palm
Every tear stained eyelash
I searched every part of my body until I learned to hate it all.
The next time you saw me I was miserable,
But I was okay with that because I knew you could finally see yourself in me, right?
Williams, 54, was a 6-foot, 9-inch power forward and center for the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets during a nine-year NBA career. He averaged just 7.3 points per game but was known as one of the league’s top rebounders during his prime.
He accidentally shot Christofi on February 14, 2002 after going back to his 30,000-square-foot mansion with a bunch of friends and playing with a 12-gauge shotgun. The first trial ended in acquittal on the more serious charges, but he was retried for reckless manslaughter in a proceeding that saw repeated delays before he finally pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in 2010. He was released after serving 27 months in prison.
“An hour doesn’t go by that I don’t think about [the accident], think about how can I replay this as to bring back Mr. Christofi,” Williams told ESPN in a 2012 interview.
Williams, who is divorced from his daughters’ mother, is one of seven former St. John’s athletes set to be inducted into the school’s hall of fame. Others include 2016 Olympic high jumper Priscilla Frederick and 2016 Olympic fencing silver medalist Daryl Homer.
“Why are you being honored and inducted into the hall of fame when I’ve always had to earn my survival, let alone my success, in spite of you?” wrote Tryumph Williams. “St. John’s University – you should be ashamed of yourself.”