I’m Jay Williams From ESPN and This Is How I Work

Jay Williams is a hell of a high school basketball coach. In 2003, Williams, the record-breaking Duke player, cut a promising career with the Chicago Bulls after a motorcycle accident. In the documentary seriesBest Shot , which premieres today on YouTube, Williams (now an ESPN host) becomes assistant coach for the Newark Central High School boys’ basketball team, which includes both life orientations and on-court practice. We spoke with Williams about his career, how he reinvented himself after the accident, and how he wants more people to know about sports broadcasting.

Location : En route to Brooklyn from Indiana, driving through the rolling hills of West Virginia. Current performance : ESPN host and star of upcoming YouTube original documentaries. Best shot. One word that best describes how you work : awareness. Current mobile device: iPhone 8 Plus. Current computer. : MacBook

First of all, tell us a little about your past and how you got where you are now.

I grew up in an environment conducive to understanding complexities. Between this type of parenting and solving my own difficult problems, including a career, facing adversity, rethinking myself, and creating a new career, it has all helped me to empathize with others. This allows me to relate my own difficulties to theirs.

Tell us about a recent work day.

The best thing about what I do is that not a single day is the same, for which I am very grateful. My workdays can change, whether it’s working on Best Shot or looking for other opportunities for more TV hosting. I also frequently participate in other sports activities, be it college basketball, NBA or something like that. I don’t think I have the same concert every day, which makes me appreciate the job I have more.

What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without?

I want to take on the challenge and live without anything. As long as I’m surrounded by people I love, I don’t think I will need technology.

How is your workplace arranged?

I don’t have a job, it’s more freedom of movement and a constant experience, which I think I use best. I have no cubicle other than the one at home, although it was recently converted into a nursery, so it is no longer my cubicle.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack?

I think I am much straighter than ever. I have no time to chat. I have more priorities in life with my family and work, so I always try to manage my time more efficiently.

Tell us about an interesting or unusual process you have at work.

With Best Shot I have learned to navigate, or better understand how to navigate in personal relationships. When you’re trying to navigate multiple relationships at the same time while trying to learn how to inspire and nudge people both individually and collectively, it’s not easy. You want everyone to achieve their own personal success, but do it within a team lens. In addition to this, you are dealing with the static of external factors – family members, girlfriends, life situations, drugs, behavior problems – and trying to make one entity feel like a family, even if they all come from different dimensions and perspectives. …

What do you want more people to know about sports broadcasting?

Sports broadcasting is like a point guard. As a point guard, there are so many things you have to manage while on the road. This is an understanding, if there are four cameras, which camera are you talking to. Do you want to look directly into the camera if you point the point directly at the viewer? Or do you want to chat more? Do you want both? How do you navigate this and the conversation you have with three other people on your set? Are you making the points correct? Do you do them in eight seconds, or less to be more precise, depending on how much time you have to talk?

Also, you have an IFB [interrupted fallback] in your ear, so you have a director who tells you which camera you are talking to, even if you are not paying attention to them. You have a producer in your ear who counts down to you until the commercial break, or tells you what next topic you’re about to discuss. You have all this happening, and this is if you are just an analyst. If you are the presenter, you participate in the conversation and also plan what the next conversation will be like, or how to carry the last line of what someone just said into the next conversation.

It’s almost like The Matrix because you see it all happening at the same time. As with everything in life, the more you do this, the more the matrix slows down.

Who are the people who help you achieve results, and how do you rely on them?

  1. My wife: By and large, she is the boss, and I admit it, and I’m fine with that. She runs the show and I do as I’m told, although we share responsibilities to some extent.
  2. My mom: She helps me in everything and in everything. She is beautiful in my life.
  3. My manager Karen Kinney: She challenged me, made me realize that I can do things I didn’t count on, and continues to push me every day.
  4. Ricci: She’s my everyday person who keeps everything according to my schedule. She helps me manage time with my family, make calls or make appointments.

They are the “holy four”.

How do you keep track of what you need to do?

Ricci is an important ingredient as I am not always the best. Sometimes I can be overwhelmed by some of the responsibilities and travel that I have to do besides making calls. However, I am trying to learn to say no more and realize that I cannot be everywhere for everyone. A recent trip to visit the family served as a reminder of the importance of taking time to think and spend time with my wife as we prepare for our baby.

How to recharge or relax?

I love spending time with my wife. Lately, she has been a moral compass for me. We dived deeply into preparing for the birth of a child. I am reading a book about a father and some of the things I need to do for my little girl. This is what refreshes and rejuvenates me.

What’s your favorite side project?

My social networks. I try to use my channel more for the thoughts I am trying to convey and how I can do it visually. In today’s climate, it is easy to name something or yell at something, so instead of raising my voice level, I try to raise its essence. It’s important to me that I strive to send messages that make people think or provide a perspective.

What are you reading now or what do you recommend?

I’m currently reading Meg Meeker’s Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters . This is my first child and I am the only child in the family. I was raised by many strong women – my mother is a very strong woman – but I never had to deal with the influence a man has on his daughter. This book prepares me for things that I will need to talk to and tell her about, in addition to how to convey the message and tone of conversations.

Who else would you like to see to answer these questions?

I would love for my wife to answer these questions as she is very introspective. I also watched Dwayne Johnson for a while. I like to work, I do not consider it work when you are passionate about what you do. He does the same, but family is also very important to him. There is really no work-life balance, you have to learn how to put it all together. I think he does a great job of it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of the things my mom told me recently is that you can’t be everything to everyone. I know what I like and I like to make the people around me happy. As I got older, I realized more and more that there will always be someone who leaves, frustrated with a situation or frustrated by the circumstances in their own lives. I can only try to control my emotions and what energy I want to live with or who I want to be. If it has a positive impact on someone, then that’s great. If it doesn’t resonate with everyone, that’s okay too. I will not let their anger or frustration dictate the type of energy I want to live my life with.

What problem are you still trying to solve?

I am so lucky to be here on this earth; I nearly passed away when I was 21. I don’t know, I would call them problems, I would call them life. My knee is not in good shape, I suffer from pain every day. How can I best deal with this so that I can run with my daughter and continue to play sports? I may need a knee replacement soon. I am fortunate to have things that I have to keep working on. I am happy to have these things because I am still here and continue to work on them.


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