In the spring of 2012, during his last stint in the NBA as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, Delonte West gave Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward a wet-willy. Well, it wasn't all that wet. More of a I'm-gonna-poke-this-gangly-white-boy-in-the-ear-because-that's-all-that-I-can-think-to-do-right-now-willy.The move was Delonte West in a nutshell: Weird, playful, and worthy of a technical foul. The Jazz broadcast team was appalled, to say the least.
The one-shot-and-the-ball goof was actually a lighter moment for West who had seen his reputation destroyed in the NBA—ask Jeeves about Delonte's relationship with LeBron's mom—and once faced serious jail time after being pulled over while driving an ATV in Maryland (as one does). The officers on the scene quickly found the cache of firearms on his person, including a shotgun that was hidden in a guitar case that has become something of a legend itself.
West kept mum on the issue for two years before revealing to SLAM Magazine in 2011 that he was under the influence of Seroquel at the time—a drug he was taking to treat his bipolar disorder—and was moving the guns to another house he owned nearby after his mother expressed concern about his friends gaining access to the guns and not treating them like guns. Friends suck sometimes.
West became an NBA vagabond within a year after his arrest, and was out of the league entirely after being waived by the Mavericks in the fall of 2012. He spent a year in the NBA's D-League and then this past season slummed it in the Chinese Basketball Association. But he's back in God's country now and looking to catch on with another team.
West is part of a larger discussion involving mental illness and sports that has cropped up unfortunately due to all the violence involving current and former NFL players. These men, and this is another instance when it is always men, need help and, sometimes, it's easier for a team to cut or trade someone than actually do anything of substance. It's pretty clear that this is what happened to Delonte West. But mental illness has become less of a stigma in America thanks to athletes like Delonte West and Brandon Marshall, who serve as great examples of the recuperative powers of therapy and medication as treatment options. If Delonte can get better, well, couldn't anyone?
We sat down with him to talk his past, his present (the man is pretty focused on his son, Cash, to put it mildly) and where he goes from here. No, he did not sleep with LeBron's mom (we had to ask), and the dude can still hit the deep threes.