Trendsetters at Work: Jay Williams

This well-dressed journalist has a few pointers

By Taylor Stephan Jun 13, 2016 9:16 PMTags
ESC: Trendsetters at Work, Jay WilliamsJennifer Cooper/E!

As you might imagine, it takes loads of dedication and talent to make it to the NBA.

It takes the same amount of ambition to embark on a second career in broadcast journalism. Just ask The New York Times bestselling author of Life Is Not an Accident and ESPN analyst Jay Williams. The well-versed professional is not only insanely passionate about his work, he also knows how to dress the part. For Jay's tips on dressing like a gentleman, getting the most out of your career and more—keep reading!

What's a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me is non-stop. Between being on-air with ESPN, working entertainment news with a number of shows, collaborating with my company Leverage Agency, launching my book, participating in speaking engagements and trying to have a personal life, my days always end up being different. With that, I love a change of pace because it always keeps me on my toes and I enjoy the diversity. The more I accomplish in a day, the happier I am. I truly love to work. 

Jennifer Cooper/E!

What's the best part about your job?
For me, the best part about doing television is the moment the red light comes on and you are LIVE. As a former NBA player, performing live on air gives me the same exhilaration. I am so grateful to be able to do this every day. Also, walking down the hallway at ESPN on any day of the week you might be crossing paths with legends like Mike Ditka (former head coach of the Chicago Bears), Kevin Hart, Serena Williams, Common, Mark Wahlberg or Will Ferrell, to name a few.

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?
The best advice I've received is to pay attention to the character of the friends around you. I cherish "root" like relationships. I am so blessed to have some strong "roots" in my life.


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What's the most daring career risk you've ever taken?
The most daring career risk I have ever taken was at the age of 21. At the time I was transitioning into television from the NBA due to my accident which ended my basketball career. Since then, learning the television game for the last 10 years has been quite challenging but I love it and wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

Who are some of your career heroes?
I personally love watching greats like Matt Lauer, Scott Pelly, Howard Cossell, Bryant Gumble and others that can stimulate an intelligent, thoughtful, moving conversation or interview.

Jennifer Cooper/E!

Tell us about your signature style.
I love to dress in Italian clean-cut three-piece suits. While growing up, my father used to always do his Windsor knot over and over. One day, I finally asked him why. His response was, "Son, you have to dress for the job you want, not for the job you have. Precision is everything." Those words still sit with me every day when I prepare myself to leave my apartment. First impressions are everything.

Who are your fashion icons?
The Rat Pack was the epitome of Hollywood glamour. Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Joey Bishop and the orchestrator Humphrey Bogart were the ultimate "in crowd" and are those that inspired me from a young age and still now.

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What are your top three tips for men's fashion?
For me, I always start with footwear from the ground up. You may be shocked at the sticker price for well-crafted shoes but I assure you the quality and comfort will pay dividends down the road. Ignore fashion trends. Be a gentleman and stick to classic clothing staples for the core of your wardrobe. Avoid anything that's too far out on the cutting edge. If you've shelled out for a few pieces of good, quality clothing, like a custom suit, a pair of expensive dress shoes, it's worth a few bucks more to keep the clothes in good shape.

Style wise, what makes a woman attractive to you?
The term I love for a woman I would be attracted to is sophisticated elegance, or someone who is classy but in the same breath could have a surprising edge to them. Walking properly in a great pair of heels is also a very sexy trait.

Jennifer Cooper/E!

Today for lunch I had…yogurt with almonds and honey drizzled over the top. I've been training a lot lately and trying to eater lighter and better.

The first website I log onto everyday…is

My usual Starbucks order is…non-existent. I would much rather order from the local coffee shops. I love a great cappuccino.

If I wasn't doing my job…I would be teaching or coaching.

My favorite place to visit is my parent's homes…enjoying family time is critical to me.

The book I am reading right now is…Rising Strong by Brene Brown.

List five things that are on your desk right now…a list of show concepts, a candle is lit, the NY Times paper (actual paper) & NY Post, a cup of coffee and an old-school record player with an Otis Reading record playing in the background.

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