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Beasley is doing ballet. Oh, and he hired a PR firm to help his image.

Oct 21, 2011, 11:15 AM EDT

Michael Beasley

Michael Beasley is working on a transformation. Of himself, of his image.

It’s going to take a lot of work. And a lot of time. He was arrested this summer for marijuana possession and pushed a guy in the face in a New York street ball game, two things that didn’t help the cause.

But he is trying. He put together a charity game to be played in Minnesota this weekend, to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. It’s a game that will feature a number of Timberwolves and other NBA players putting on a show for fans. (Some of the biggest names — Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, John Wall — pulled out last minute on him, right after an international barnstorming tour was announced. Coincidence?)

And then there are the other things he is doing to rehab his image, from the Star-Tribune:

He has also taken up ballet to transform his body and hired a public- relations agency to improve his image.

“I want everyone to know that I’m not this monster that they perceive,” he said. “I’m a really nice guy….”

He has played with childhood pal Durant and Wall in exhibition games across the country and also has incorporated elements of yoga, karate and, yes, ballet into summer workouts intended to make his body stronger, more limber and help ensure a long, productive career. He has dropped about 15 pounds after playing last season at 240 pounds.

Beasley is not a monster. In a world all too full of real atrocities, Beasley’s transgressions are minor.

But I saw Beasley play in person this summer, and the disinterested, flat play that has been at the core of his image problems was out in full force. Beasley has been gifted with a body to play NBA basketball and do it well, but what really kills his image is that he seems to not care. He squanders that gift. For fans who did not win the genetic lottery and had no chance to play in the NBA, that attitude is what is unforgivable.

We want to see the passion and dedication on the court, every night. Not just be told its there by a PR firm.

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