New York, Jan 30 : Jayson Williams has earned the nickname the `Moses of Rikers' by transforming himself into a churchgoing mentor at Riker Island where he is incarcerated.
According to a former inmate, Williams is beloved by the other prisoners and treated "like a star".
"Every single person shakes his hand. He is like Moses, the Moses of Rikers," the New York Post quoted the inmate, Christopher Hughes, as saying.
He said that Williams, 43, attends church and leads Bible-study classes every day.
"Jayson would sign people's Bibles. I would ask him why, and he'd say, `Fake it till you make it.' I thought he was saying, `If I can get them in the door through this signature, then at least I got them in the room to see Christ," said Hughes.
He also added that Williams worked as a suicide-prevention assistant for a week on the midnight shift, to help inmates who were contemplating killing themselves.
The former Philadelphia 76er, who receives "tons" of mail and spends four hours a day writing back, is also penning a second book, `Humbled', in which he makes the shocking revelation that he was sexually abused as a child.
Hughes, who read the excerpts in prison, describes it as "raw".
Williams works out daily, but reluctantly plays basketball to cheer up inmates.
"People would scream out the windows, `Jay, dunk it, man! Dunk it!' He'd have to dunk once a day!" said Hughes.
Williams' manager, Akhtar Farzaie, confirmed the inmate's account.
The basketball star is completing a one-year sentence for DWI, after serving an 18-month term in a New Jersey prison for aggravated assault. He accidentally shot and killed a limo driver in 2002 at his New Jersey mansion.