Former NBA star Delonte West is probably best remembered as an integral member of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2008 NBA playoffs. But in recent years, his personal struggles with mental illness have become tabloid fodder, and on Monday a pair of disturbing videos surfaced of the once-promising point guard.
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.
Once the videos began to circulate online, many took to Twitter to express their concerns over the former Cleveland Cavalier’s safety and wellbeing.
Phil Martelli, West’s former coach at Saint Joseph, revealed that he was working on getting West help.
“Over the past several hours I have talked with many who are willing to help - please read and embrace Jameer’s wisdom—we are reaching out to our basketball network to get the professional help Delonte needs,” he tweeted. “This is so very painful.”
Other members of the NBA community expressed their own concerns and desire to help as well.
“Sad to hear the news about Delonte West. We failed him,” tweeted former NBA star Royce White, whose own career was cut short due to the NBA’s inability to properly address his mental health challenges. “We should be talking about mental health honestly all the time, not just when celebrities are in crisis. Let’s not caricature the mental health topic through Delonte’s struggles...Check your own coffee mug first.”
West’s struggles with bipolar disorder are well documented. He revealed his diagnosis in 2009, and it may have been a contributing factor to the premature collapse of his career. Since his playing days ended in 2012, there have been numerous reports of him demonstrating uncharacteristic behavior in public, but hopefully, this latest incident will inspire the NBA to not only reevaluate its mental health program but to step in and provide West with the professional assistance he desperately needs.