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.