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Jay Bilas knows hoops. After starting four years for head coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke University and a brief professional career overseas, Bilas joined ESPN as a college basketball analyst in 1995. He’s been a key part of the network’s NBA draft coverage since 2003. While he’s become a familiar face and voice to college basketball fans through the years, talking about hoops is his night job. You’ll never guess what he does in his day job.

Jay Bilas played at Duke

In 1982, Jay Bilas was considered a top recruit coming out of high school in California where he averaged more than 23 points per game. Bilas opted to go cross-country and play for the Duke Blue Devils.

His first season in Durham, Bilas started 24 of the team’s 28 games. He finished with solid numbers that freshman season, averaging 8.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest. During his sophomore season, he recorded similar numbers. Bilas posted career-best numbers his junior year, averaging 10 points and six rebounds per game.

Jay Bilas started fewer games and had the lowest offensive production of his career during his final year at Duke. However, the team’s overall success offset any individual disappointment as the Blue Devils finished with an impressive 37-3 record and runner-up in the national title game, losing in a close one to the Louisville Cardinals and star player Pervis Ellison.  

Jay Bilas lands job with ESPN

After graduating from Duke in 1986 with a degree in political science, the Dallas Mavericks selected Jay Bilas in the fifth round of the 1986 NBA Draft. He never played for the Mavericks and instead played a couple of seasons overseas in Italy and Spain. 

Bilas returned stateside in 1990 and served as an assistant coach under Mike Krzyzewski for three seasons, when the Blue Devils won back-to-back national titles in 1991 and 1992. During that same time, he attended Duke University School of Law, where he received his law degree.

In 1995, Jay Bilas began his broadcasting career with ESPN as a color commentator and studio analyst. He joined the network’s NBA draft coverage in 2003, providing in-depth player scouting and analysis. A couple of years later, the five-time Emmy nominee was part of the launch of ESPN’s basketball version of College Gameday and has been a mainstay since. 

He currently is a practicing lawyer

While Jay Bilas has developed a reputation through the years as one of the most knowledgeable voices in college basketball, that’s his night job. During the days of the basketball offseason, he can be found in the law offices of Moore & Van Allen, PLLC, in Charlotte, N.C.

Bilas, who never planned on going to law school but his father talked him into it, has worked for the firm since 1992 and practices commercial litigation. He said his best moment as a lawyer happened during a securities arbitration when cross-examining a witness. 

“I knew the witness was lying, and I was able to lead the witness down a certain path with his lying, and trap him with his own documents,” Bilas told the Bitter Lawyer.  

Calling basketball games, analyzing draft picks, and cross-examining witnesses, for Jay Bilas, it’s all in a day’s work.


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