Forever a champion: Jay Williams’ Rising Stars becoming his true legacy

I will forever associate the month of March with Jason Williams circa 2001, the mercurial Duke guard with a gunslinger’s swagger to go with his incredible talent, limitless potential and unparalleled work ethic.

And when he sits back and recalls his history with the best time of the year in college hoops, it puts him back in game mode.

“A couple weeks ago, I literally got chills,” Williams said Saturday night. “I got chills. It’s always like that. It’s always this time of the year that makes me the most excited.”

Nine years later, March is still Jay Williams’ time. Williams has transitioned into an excellent analyst for ESPN’s college basketball telecasts; his superior court vision now allows him to break down the action better than most could, and he works just as hard at that as he did on his three-point shot.

And in what comes as no surprise to those of us who got to know him at Duke and who came to recognize him as a total class act, Williams is using his notoriety and networking ability to help give at-risk youth opportunities that they wouldn’t normally have.

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Eyes on the prize: Affable Sterger focuses on the brass ring

Sterger on the left, Mike from Foley's in the middle, Jay-Will on the right

While helping to lend some support to Jay Williams’ Rising Stars charity event on Saturday night, Jennifer Sterger – the host of the upcoming sports show The Daily Line on Versus – often found herself the center of attention, something she’s grown accustomed to. But it wasn’t entirely for the reason you probably think it was.

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The mouth that soars: Ever-loquacious Malignaggi living his dream

Center of attention When you see Paulie Malignaggi heading towards a microphone, you don’t know whether to prepare to laugh or to cringe. In reality, usually it turns out to be a little of both.

“When he goes off,” his promoter, Lou DiBella, told me with a shrug, “I mean, I sometimes… like, I tremor! He goes off and I’m sitting there shaking my head…”

But it’s mostly endearing, right?

“Oh yeah! It’s definitely mostly endearing, but he says certain things, and then people hold me accountable for things that Paulie says. I can’t control Paulie’s month. I mean, I’ve given up a long time ago censoring Paulie Malignaggi.”

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Look closer: SportsAngle checks out the scene at the NBA Store

After the Paulie Malignaggi-Amir Khan presser ended – more on that tomorrow – the weather in the City was too nice not to walk around a bit, so I stopped over at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue for a little while. I like to see what initiatives they’re pushing, to stay on the pulse of a sport I like, and also to check out some of the more ridiculous items.

Also, you never know who you’ll find there – I’ve run into Freddy Prinze sidekick Matthew Lillard and failed St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis, to name a couple. Here’s a pictorial look at what I found – or at least, what I found before employees came by and glared me out the door.


Note – If you want musical accompaniment to get the vibe of being at the store, hit play on that dreadful Kesha song after the jump. I think it’s appalling, but lamentably, that’s what was playing when I was there. Brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack, indeed.

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Follow the money trail: Pacquiao’s star power paves way for real ‘Event’

Pray of hope The fight may have been a fairly big letdown for something called “The Event.” Joshua Clottey provided not much more resistance than the heavy bag in my apartment. And a decent undercard turned out pretty lousy.

But last night’s fight further reiterated the star power – and drawing power – that Manny Pacquiao possesses. And as it somewhat numbs the bad feelings of the disintegrated holy grail fight of Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather that was supposed to take place last night, it whets our appetite for that matchup when it finally happens.

Because it will happen, and the power of Pacquiao is the biggest reason. For a fight against a guy virtually nobody in the general public knows, and who essentially refused to throw punches, he drew over 50,000 people to a football stadium. For a boxing match. In 2010.

If there was any question before that Pacquiao is the face of the sport, that should clear it up.

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Counterpoint: Nomar finally a winner

Note: This is an addendum to my Nomar piece from earlier today, written by frequent SportsAngle contributor and conspirator Frank Pepe of Trumbull Island. It’s brilliant, and as a Knicks fan who views even their finest mid-90’s glory days as being tragically flawed, it resonates. I get it.


My friend Esoteric was curious about Boston’s love for Nomar Garciaparra, a player who flamed out, left acrimoniously and was overshadowed by his shortstop contemporaries and the franchise who would eventually win it all without him. Nomar, though, was — and still is —loved by Red Sox fans for his glory days, and for what he represented. Esoteric asked why: I think, as a Red Sox fan, I can give a bit of an answer.

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