Cops take ex-NBA star to hospital

April 27, 2009 1:07:12 PM PDT
Officers stunned a drunken and agitated Jayson Williams with a Taser at a swank Manhattan hotel Monday morning after reports that the troubled ex-NBA star appeared suicidal, police said. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Police were called to the hotel in Battery Park City in lower Manhattan around 4 a.m. after a report that the former New Jersey Nets star was suicidal, authorities said.

When officers arrived, there were empty bottles of prescription drugs strewn around the disheveled hotel suite of the 6-foot-10 Williams, police said.

Emergency Services Unit police, an elite team trained to deal with emotionally disturbed people, responded and stunned Williams with a Taser, handcuffed him and took him to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

Williams played nine seasons in the NBA with the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers before retiring in 2000.

He was convicted in 2004 of trying to cover up the shooting death of his hired driver Costas "Gus" Christofi at his mansion in Alexandria Township, N.J., in February 2002.

Williams was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter, but the jury deadlocked on a reckless manslaughter count. A retrial is pending. Williams has been free on bail since the shooting.

His wife filed divorce papers this year claiming he was abusive, adulterous and had a drug problem.

Williams' manager told the Daily News of New York outside a Manhattan hospital that the athlete was on the mend.

"Jayson is doing fine. He said he was fine," Akhtar Farzaie told the newspaper. "All of us are here to be by his side as friends."

Williams graduated from New York City's Christ the King High School, one of the country's biggest producers of college and pro basketball stars.

He was a first-round pick in the 1990 NBA draft and went on to become a valuable Nets star. He was named an All-Star and ranked second in the NBA for the 1997-1998 with 13 rebounds per game and a league-high 443 offensive rebounds.

An injury forced career-ending surgery in 2000.

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