Retiring from the NBA is an emotional thing, especially for the guys who get to do it on their own terms. It was that way for Keyon Dooling, who after a dozen NBA seasons had signed on to play one more for the Celtics, but as he prepared for the season he realized he didn’t want to do it anymore.
But making that emotional choice led to a flood of other emotions, ones that washed away years of barriers he had put up in his mind to protect him from some of the horrors of his childhood. It led to him melting down and seeking therapy.
It led to the realization he had been abused as a youth. In just about every way.
Dooling opened up about all of it to Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com, talking about how it started with the realization he just didn’t want to continue the grind of the NBA life.
Years of repressed emotions came rushing back during this realization. Memories that Dooling had tried to bury were flooding out.
“I actually had such a meltdown that I had to get professional help and I ended up in the hospital,” said Dooling.
“It just all came to a head. To be honest with you, I blocked a lot of things out of my life. I’m a man who’s been abused, sexually, emotionally, mentally. I’ve been abused in my life, and there’s so many guys around the NBA who have been abused and I know it because I’ve been their therapist. I didn’t even have the courage because I blocked it out so much that I couldn’t even share that . . .
“He had been abused by both strangers and those he knew as a child. He refuses to harbor hate for those who have hurt him. Instead, he wants to share his story as a way to help others in similar situations cope. .
“I just couldn’t embrace it at that time . . . I just wish I had the courage to talk about my abuses, and I’m not putting anybody out there because that’s neither here nor there. I was abused by some random people and some familiar people and it happened not frequently, but it happened. One time is too many. I just wish I had the courage because so many of our guys have been abused.”
As a father, few things boil my blood like the idea of child abuse in any form. It took a lot of strength for Dooling to repress those memories. It took a much stronger man now to talk about them. The culture of sports, of locker rooms, is not to discuss this kind of thing, but that is also part of what allows it to continue. Dooling has taken a big step for him and hopefully it opens up the hearts and minds of other players.
You should read the entire post (we will have more on it as well). Dooling talks about his love for Rajon Rondo, for Kevin Garnett, for the Celtics organization. He opens up as few players ever really do to the media.
It is the best thing you will read today.