NBA

Darryl Strawberry Relates to Delonte West Being ‘Down in the Pit of Life’

Former NBA player Delonte West has been struggling off the basketball court. West has been dealing with bipolar disorder, substance abuse and has been living on the streets until Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban intervened. Last week, Cuban was videoed picking up West at a Dallas gas station. It’s been reported Cuban has helped West get into a treatment facility. Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry has been there himself. Strawberry said he, too, has been “down in the pit of life” and is willing to reach out to West.

Delonte West shared his mental health issues in 2015

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Delonte West spent eight seasons in the NBA. He played his college basketball at Saint Joseph’s and was selected in the first round of the 2004 NBA draft. He was taken by the Boston Celtics with the 24th overall pick. West had two stints with the Celtics, spending his first three seasons in Boston. He also played with the Seattle Sonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Dallas Mavericks.

West shared his personal struggles in an article in The Washington Post in 2015. When he as in the eighth grade, he hurt his leg and was unable to play basketball. He stopped going to school and saw his life begin to spiral out of control. West began popping pills and cutting himself. He spoke of the many times he planned to take his own life.

“I mean, I was basically crying for attention,” he said in 2015. “Maybe 17 or 18, you tell the story differently. ‘Man, I tried to kill myself.’ At 31, you say, ‘What the hell was I doing?’ Looking back now, you just think, ‘I was a spoiled brat.'”

Darryl Strawberry can relate to West

Former Major League Baseball player Darryl Strawberry has been where Delonte West is now. Strawberry has seen his share of substance-abuse rehab centers during his lifetime. He battled cocaine and alcohol addiction. He has been arrested for various charges, including soliciting a prostitute. Strawberry has hit rock bottom and now he’s on the other end.

Strawberry became an ordained minister in 2007, one year after he married his third wife, Tracy. He focused on the present and not on his baseball accolades. Strawberry has since opened multiple drug rehab centers of his own. He’s been there and now wants to help others.

″Most people kind of look at my life and they believe it’s my fault because I had everything but my home was broken before I put a uniform on,″ Strawberry said to The Florida Times-Union. ″My dad was an alcoholic and used to beat the crap out of me and said I would never amount to nothing. So I had pain before I ever put the uniform on. My pain led me to my greatness and my greatness led me to my destructive behavior and that’s the reality of life.″

Strawberry would love to reach out to West

Darryl Strawberry knows what it’s like to be in recovery. He believes Delonte West’s problems stem from a childhood incident that was never dealt with. He said many professional athletes put on a uniform and “cover up” their issues instead of dealing with them. Strawberry said West needs to want to get that help but know how hard it can be to take that step.

“He’s been successful and now he’s down in the pit of life,” Strawberry said in an interview with TMZ Sports. “I was down in the pit of life and I had myself be redeemed through my faith and everything and now I’m an evangelist and travel the country. I preach over 250 times. If I can do it, I know anybody else in that situation can do it.”

Strawberry said he’d love to reach out to West. “I’d love to help him,” he said. “It’s not to gain any notoriety. I have a tremendous amount of notoriety. Being that person that he is now, that used to be me. We never turn our backs on anybody.”