A video of former NBA player Delonte West getting beaten up mercilessly in the middle of a highway and sitting handcuffed on a sidewalk later, went viral, drawing concerns from the sports fraternity and his fans. According to initial reports, the incident took place in Washington D.C.
Delonte West suffers from mental health issues
Last year, following a viral photograph that showed a broke and homeless Delonte, his cousin revealed that the former NBA star was suffering from mental health problems.
In the recent set of videos, Delonte was seen lying motionless in the middle of a busy highway as an unidentified man mercilessly punching and kicking him hard before throwing him off the road. In yet another video, an upheaval Delonte is handcuffed and sitting on the side of the road. On being asked what's happened, he says that a man carrying a gun approached him as he was taking a walk on the road. On being probed further, he starts ranting repeatedly: "I don't care."
The viral videos were posted on twitter by a Twitter user, who wrote: "Apparently Delonte West was seen getting beat up in the street this Morning. I went to school with him and it's crazy to see just how his life has gone downhill since the NBA."
Sports fraternity expresses concern
Former NBA player Jameer Nelson and Delonte's former St. Joseph's teammate took to Twitter to express his concern: "I'm sick today my stomach right now seeing the videos of Delonte. To answer everybody that is reaching to me about his situation.. all we can do is pray for him and his family and hope that he seeks the proper help."
The player further went on to reveal that he was in touch with Delonte in the past: "I'm not sure what exactly is going on with Dwest but he knows that I'm in his corner and will help him get through this. Yes, I have spoken to him over the past several months, just trying to be there for him as a friend. One thing I do know is if you are having mental, emotional or physical setbacks in life you need to talk to somebody."
In response to Nelson's tweet, Delonte's former coach at Saint Joseph's, Phil Martelli, also wrote on Twitter: "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. This is so very painful."
The downfall of Delonte West
Recruited by Boston Celtics in 2004, Delonte played seven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Boston Celtics, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dallas Mavericks, until 2012. During his NBA stint, Delonte averaged 9.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
Once he took off for China, the 36-year-old played professionally for the Fujian Xunxing and Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association.
In March 2015, Delonte returned to the field with Texas Legends in their match against Delaware 87ers. However, in April, he was laid off after suffering a season-ending injury. His downfall began soon after. In 2016, Delonte was seen dressed in a hospital gown walking barefoot in a Houston based restaurant.
Delonte is suffering from Bipolar disorder
For a long time after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, Delonte went on to publicly refute claims and blamed temporary depression and the stresses of a basketball player lifestyle, to be the cause of his irrational behavior.
However, after the pictures of a homeless and wandering Delonte went viral, his brother Dmitri confirmed the rumours that he was struggling with bipolar disorder. "Delonte West is not crazy, he is not drugged. I do not know what is happening exactly in his mind, but I can tell him that he is safe and that he is well. The family is trying to get the best professional help there is, the best they can afford. For the protection of my family and his life. I ask you to please do not crucify him."