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Delonte West doesn’t believe being bipolar was his issue

Aug 11, 2013, 5:07 PM EDT

Phoenix Suns v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

Delonte West was a pretty promising player at one point in his career, starting alongside LeBron James, averaging double-figures and sort of earning himself cult-favorite status among those that like to cheer for fun people that play basketball. His career went downhill in a hurry, however, as he went from being a full-time starter with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009 to being out of the NBA by the time the 2012-13 season rolled around.

Most people attributed West’s downfall to his being bipolar, but he told the Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn that it had more to do with just being self-loathing, saying he didn’t think being bipolar was his issue.

“That kind of been my issue was self-loathing, it never was (being) bipolar,” West said. “I wasn’t considered bipolar before my Desperado (carrying guns on a motorcycle) incident as people like to describe it. From them on, a failed marriage after two months, lost some contracts and endorsements, and the center of everybody’s jokes. And the best player in the world (LeBron James), allegedly (I) had sex with his mother. Growing up in the hood, that’s the worst thing you could say is something about somebody’s mother. That would get you punched in the face. That hits home.”

It’s easy to see how that amalgamation of problems could lead to trouble, but nobody expected it to lead a talented player like West out of the league just a few short years later. And, ultimately, it wasn’t just the problems mentioned above, either.

West’s erratic behavior over the past few years culminated with a few famous clashes with the Dallas Mavericks management during training camp last season and was eventually let go prior to the regular season.  Next came nearly signing with the Grizzlies, signing with the D-League and then eventually refusing to report to the D-League because he believed an NBA contract was on its way. It never was, however, and West eventually ended up playing eight games with the Mavericks-affiliated Texas Legends where he averaged 10.3 points and shot just 35.1 percent from the field.

Knowing about all of the previous problems and seeing that he was far from successful during last year’s abbreviated stint in the NBA Development League, it’s not hard to believe he’s still without an NBA option heading into next season … but it does make one wonder what might’ve been.

  1. dysraw1 - Aug 11, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    wish this guy all the luck, but its a small window in the for 6ft3 guys who are between1&2 guards

    • moseskkim - Aug 11, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      Normally it is but he has his own good skill set. Gritty defender, can shoot, can playmake. I like his game a lot and also wish him the best.

  2. ProBasketballPundit - Aug 11, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Delonte West basically saying, “It’s not that I’m bipolar I just have extreme moods where I’m either self-loathing or riding an insane high on a motorcycle with several loaded guns.” Yeah… doesn’t sound like bipolar at all.

  3. shen90 - Aug 11, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    I am Bipolar. My aunt is Bipolar. When I was younger I watched her struggle and had no sympathy for her because I could not fathom why it was so difficult to just accept it and stay on her meds. Then I grew up and developed Bipolar. I had it for a year when I went to my Aunt and told her how sorry I was. No matter how true I know it to be true without fail I stop taking my meds and tell everyone everything is fine and it was just this or that and the meds just clouded me and I will be fine this time. Without fail it goes horribly wrong and I beg for meds again.

    It’s like their are three of me. Regular me. Manic me. Depressed me. They all believe themselves to be right and have no power to stop which ever is in control at the time. Regular just wants everything to be ok and stable. Manic wants to do everything and do it now and prove to everyone nothing is wrong. Depressed just wants it all to be over with.

    • genericcommenter - Aug 11, 2013 at 11:59 PM

      Thanks for sharing, and I’m happy you got positive feedback here. The commentators and comment-raters here are usually pretty rough on mental illness.

      • miamatt - Aug 12, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        I avoided clicking on this post for over 24hrs b/c I shuddered at the thought of what might written…

      • genericcommenter - Aug 13, 2013 at 10:26 PM

        I have a mental illness, too- specifically social anxiety disorder. So I know exactly what that is like. I don’t check a lot of replies when I comment.

  4. johnheisman - Aug 11, 2013 at 8:43 PM


    Thank you for explaining about bipolar. I had no idea how serous it is.

    John Heisman

  5. hannahsdaddy - Aug 12, 2013 at 1:54 AM

    Lebron’s mom doesn’t agree.

  6. southpaw77 - Aug 13, 2013 at 2:49 AM

    He’s out the league because he is “blackballed” for tapping LeBron’s moms booty.
    If Sasha Pavlovic is still playing and Delonte is its because LBJ has too much pull in the league.

  7. southpaw77 - Aug 13, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Meant Delonte isn’t playing….Need an edit button on this site.

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