“This isn’t a pity story.”
Williams, 31, can say that now, more than nine years removed from the accident that nearly ended his life and irrevocably altered it. It took him that long to come to terms with the entirety of his story — high school all-American, national player of the year and national champion at Duke, No. 2 overall N.B.A. draft selection, and all that before the accident, before the hospital, before the injury that ended his professional career after one season and made him a retiree at 21.
In a series of interviews over the last three months, Williams, for the first time, detailed all that he went through.