Doc Rivers, NBA Offer Help After Troubling Photo of Former NBA Player Delonte West Surfaces Online

Delonte West #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA game against of the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Delonte West #13 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA game against of the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on December 21, 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Photo: Christian Petersen (Getty Images)

The Delonte West story is defined by both triumph and tragedy.

Prior to becoming an NBA player, the Washington, D.C. native had to overcome a tumultuous childhood that included self-harm, drug abuse, financial instability and even being admitted to children’s hospitals. It was basketball that helped him to persevere, and he eventually spent eight seasons in the NBA as a valued contributor to five different teams.

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However, try as he may to outrun his demons, his self-destructive behavior and continued legal issues led to his eventual exile from the one thing that brought him both purpose and salvation: basketball. So with his playing career in the rear-view, the now 37-year-old who once made headlines for knocking down baseline three-pointers and showcasing exemplary defense, now only makes the news for all the wrong reasons.

TMZ reports that after a disturbing photo of West surfaced online earlier this week, the NBA, his former St. Joseph’s teammate Jameer Nelson, his former coach Doc Rivers and the NBA Players Association have offered help.

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In the photo, reportedly taken in Dallas, West appears to be in bad shape while holding a sign near a busy intersection. As news of West’s situation began to circulate, many took to Twitter to express concern for the former hoop star’s condition.

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As we previously reported at The Root, in January, a pair of disturbing videos surfaced in which West was brutally attacked:

In one video circulating on social media, the eight-year NBA veteran is brutally beaten in the middle of the street by an unidentified assailant. As he lies limp on the ground, he absorbs a flurry of punches to the face before eventually being stomped in the head.

In a second video, which is presumably the aftermath of this altercation, West rambles incoherently while handcuffed on a curb. He mentions that his assailant approached him with a gun, but thus far, those claims are unsubstantiated.

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It’s abundantly clear that West is in dire need of help, and hopefully, he’s able to get back on his feet and receive the professional assistance that he needs.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.

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DISCUSSION

Mr. West is no more or less deserving of help than is the guy talking to his demons and living in the bushes in my neighborhood. The tragedy isn’t Delonte, it’s the Delonte along with the hundreds of thousands of others like him who need mental health help and don’t get it.

If some of Mr. West’s teammates find a way to help him, good for them...but it’s a small “good against a big need.

Face it; we suck at caring for each other.