Kids these days probably don’t know how good Delonte West was—or, for that matter, who he even was. But West could hoop and was a great player during his run.
Remember his St. Joseph’s team with Jameer Nelson? They formed one of the best guard duos college hoops has ever seen. While Nelson won the 2004 Wooden Award, West averaged 18.9 PPG and 6.7 APG. They led the Hawks to a 27-0 regular season and Elite Eight appearance.
West was no slouch in the NBA, either. The Celtics picked him 24th in the 2004 NBA Draft (four picks after Nelson). Though he struggled with injuries and inconsistency, he had some great moments for Boston and Cleveland (remember this ice-cold J?), averaging 9.7 PPG for his career and playing seven years in the league.
But his time in the spotlight has been challenging and West has made headlines in 2020 for some very unfortunate reasons. Below is a timeline of Delonte West’s turmoil.
2008: Bipolar Diagnosis
Though West’s personal difficulties have reached a crescendo following his retirement from the NBA, he experienced struggles when he was in the league. Twelve years ago, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a diagnosis he initially accepted but later disputed.
2009: Arrest for Carrying Guns
A year later, he was pulled over for a traffic violation while cruising on a three-wheeled motorcycle. West was found to be carrying three guns: a pistol in his waistband, revolver strapped to his leg, and shotgun in a guitar case on his back.
He pleaded guilty, saying he was transporting the weapons to a new location because his mom told him some young family members had found them in a closet. He was sentenced to probation, community service, electronic monitoring, and counseling.
West said the arrest was “not as big as some are making it.”
West married his college sweetheart, Kimberly Awad, two months before his traffic arrest. One month later, they divorced.
It was a rough year. There was the arrest, then the divorce. Shortly thereafter, West lost his starting spot in Cleveland. At the end of that season, LeBron James announced he was heading for Miami.
2013-15: Career Winds Down
Father Time is undefeated, and he comes for every athlete. West came face-to-face with the Good Father seven years ago. The Mavericks marked his last real NBA outfit. He reportedly got into a locker room argument after a preseason loss in 2012 and Dallas waived him.
From there, he bounced around with different semi-pro and international squads. He played in the D League and in China in 2013; in the Summer League and China again in 2014; and in Venezuela and the D League one last time in 2015. His career officially ended when he was waived by the Texas Legends in March 2015.
2016: Viral Public Photos
In February, West was photographed wearing a hospital gown, barefoot, while standing in public in Houston, Texas. Then in June, someone took a shot of him panhandling in Temple Hills, Maryland.
The latter photo went viral, with many suggesting West was homeless. West denied the rumors and said he was merely helping a homeless man who was quadriplegic.
“I was helping a homeless man in my neighborhood that’s paralyzed from [the] neck down,” he told Media Takeout. “I parked my car and got out to help because it was 90-degree weather and I was feeling blessed at the moment for just having legs.”
January 2020: Street Fight
News about West was quiet for a few years, but it picked back up this year. In January, a video surfaced of him rambling while in handcuffs following a fight. In the video, West sat shirtless on a curb. His hands were behind his back as he was questioned, saying someone with a gun had approached him while he was walking down the road.
The clip, which has largely been removed from the internet, went viral. At one point of the video, he could be heard saying, “I’m the real fucking president.”
According to a witness, West initiated the fight by hitting his opponent with a glass bottle around 9:45 a.m. Police said West and the other man knew each other and had been involved in a separate incident earlier that morning.
Nelson and his former college coach, Phil Martelli, issued statements backing West and offering to help.
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. https://t.co/8IAuTdzCc9— Phil Martelli (@PhilMartelli) January 21, 2020
January 2020: News of Scouting Job
Those in the NBA who have crossed paths with West have repeatedly tried to help him. Following the January incident, the National Basketball Players Association said it was trying to offer assistance.
Further, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported the Celtics had previously given West a scouting position, but his attendance was inconsistent.
“Delonte has obviously some troubles and some trials that he’s trying to deal with in his life, and I just hope that he can fix his life and get back on a good path,” Celtics GM Danny Ainge said.
One of West's longtime confidants told Charania that West's situation was "really sad," adding that "your heat breaks for him." Another said they want their friend to "figure his life out."
September 2020: Photographed in Dallas
The latest West news came earlier this week when a Twitter user shared a photo of the 37-year-old allegedly asking for money on the streets of North Dallas.
Following the most recent photograph, former Celtics and current Clippers) coach Doc Rivers reportedly offered to help West.