Jay Williams is known as one of the greatest college basketball players of all time. At Duke, Jay won the Naismith College Player of the Year award, won the 2001 National Championship, and had his #22 retired. He was the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2002 NBA draft. Now Jay works as a basketball analyst for ESPN, hosts a radio show, and is actively involved as an investor in the business world.

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  • Jay starts by describing the terrifying night when he wrecked his motorcycle which led to the end of his playing career…
  • Coach K flew a private plane to be with Jay in the hospital right after his motorcycle accident. He gave him a rosary and said, “you’re going to give that back to me when you play again.” Jay learned a valuable leadership lesson in that moment. Great leaders create hope. They give people something to strive for. “He gave me a reference point to look forward to.”
  • Communication: As a leader, you need to initiate a conversation with each person you’re leading. You can’t just lead one generic way. You need to get to know each person for who they are. Ask questions about them. Get to know them.
  • Jay’s mom said, “Life isn’t interpreted by headlines.” There is context to things. Jay learned from his mom to have a drive for knowledge and education.
  • Legacy: “Impact is what I want my life to be.”
  • Coach K: “I was coached by one of the great minds at coaching life. He’s a life leader.”
  • “I chose Duke because I wanted to be a king among kings.”
  • When Jay got drafted by the Chicago Bulls, he asked to have Michael Jordan’s locker. It had not been used by anyone until that moment. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown.”
  • Preparation process – It never turns off. Always working on preparing for his work. Jay Bilas called all the prep the parachute. You don’t want to need it, but you know it’s there in case you get stuck.
  • While at Duke, Jay decorated his body with tattoos, quotations, and symbols that meant far more later on. On his right leg, he inked the Chinese symbol for sacrifice; on his right arm, two hands clasped together, praying, next to the words “To err is human. To forgive is divine.” He also added this, from Gandhi: “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
  • Jay graduated in 3 years: He majored in sociology, graduated early, and turned professional after his junior season. For his final thesis paper, he studied athletes who left college early, their backgrounds, why they failed or succeeded.
  • Kobe – “A relentless pursuit to be the best.” “Don’t F with me, I’m in killer mode.”
    • “He crystalized those fruits that translate to things off the court too.”
  • Career advice: Appreciate your position while planning your promotion. Be excellent at your current role while also thinking about what could be next
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