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Police Taser former Nets star Jayson Williams

Former NBA star Jayson Williams was zapped with a stun gun by police in his swank hotel suite Monday after the reportedly suicidal athlete resisted attempts by officers to take him to a hospital.

Police were called to the hotel in lower Manhattan's Battery Park City neighborhood around 4 a.m.when a female friend reported the former New Jersey Nets player was acting suicidal.

When officers arrived, the 6-foot-10, 325-pound Williams appeared drunk and agitated, police said.There were empty bottles of prescription drugs strewn around his disheveled hotel suite and severalsuicide notes.

Officers with the Emergency Services Unit, an elite team trained to deal with emotionallydisturbed people, responded and stunned Williams with a Taser after he resisted attempts to behospitalized.

A spokeswoman for Williams, Judy Smith, had no immediate comment Monday. A telephone call tohis attorney Joseph Hayden was not immediately returned.

It's the latest in a series of public troubles for the 41-year-old former All-Star, who played nineseasons with the Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers before retiring in 2000.

Williams, who had a $68 million contract with the New Jersey team, was convicted in 2004 of tryingto cover up the shooting death of his hired driver Costas "Gus" Christofi at his mansion inAlexandria Township, N.J., in February 2002.

Prosecutors said Williams was giving friends and Christofi a tour of his estate. While in the masterbedroom, he took a 12-gauge shotgun from a case and snapped it closed, according to testimony.The gun fired once, ripping a hole in the chest of Christofi, who died within minutes.

Williams then wiped down the weapon and placed it in the wounded 55-year-old man's hands,stripped off his own clothes, handed them to a friend and jumped into his pool, according totestimony. The Williams defense maintained that the shooting was an accident and that he panickedafterward.

He was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter, but the jury deadlocked on a reckless-manslaughtercount. A retrial is pending, and he has been free on bail since the shooting. He's apologized toChristofi's relatives and given them $2.5 million to settle a civil suit.

Williams could be sentenced to several years in prison on the cover-up conviction, but a judge ruledhe wouldn't be sentenced until after the retrial.

Williams' wife filed divorce papers this year claiming he was abusive and adulterous and had adrug problem. Proceedings continue.

Williams' friend and manager told the New York Daily News outside a Manhattan hospital that theathlete was on the mend.

"Jayson is doing fine. He said he was fine," Akhtar Farzaie told the newspaper. "All of us are hereto 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. Hewas named an All-Star and ranked second in the NBA for the 1997-98 season with 13 rebounds pergame and a league-high 443 offensive rebounds.

An injury forced career-ending surgery in 2000.


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