Delonte West opens up about weapons charges
|09.21.11 at 11:14 am ET|
Celtics free agent Delonte West is an enigma. His blue collar approach on the court endears him to Boston fans, but his strange YouTube videos and the weapons charges from two years ago keep us guessing.
Well, thanks to a tremendous profile of West by SLAM’s Tzvi Twersky, we now have answers to at least a few of the questions that stemmed from that latter incident. For the first time, the two-time Celtics combo guard explains his side of the story on the the day he was arrested:
Tucked away in his fully finished basement, West’s studio is his sanctuary. Off limits to children, the sparsely furnished wood paneled room is his home within his home. All of that’s why he thought it was the perfect stash spot. Everything was fine — the guns remained safely hidden — until, on the night of September 17, feeling unusually tired, West went to his bedroom pretty early, took his nightly dose of Seroquel (a drug that treats bipolar disorder) and got in bed. Shortly after falling asleep, he was startled awake by shouting.
“Ma Dukes came running upstairs into my room, cursing me, saying she wanted all these MFers out of my house,” recalls West. “I came to like, What’s going on? I was already on my Seroquel trip. A few of my cats had found some stuff in the studio and they were living the whole gangsta life thing — guns in the air and this and that,” continues West. “And I said, ‘Oh my God. What the fuck are y’all doin’ in here? Y’all got to go. Momma ain’t on that. Kids are running around upstairs. It’s time to go.’”
Gassed up from the commotion, West decided it would be prudent for him to relocate the guns to an empty house he owned nearby. So, with his other vehicles blocked in by guests’ cars, and expecting it to be a short trip, he haphazardly loaded up his Can-Am and placed the weapons in a Velcro-type of bag — “not a desperado, hardcase, gun-shooting-out-the-side type case” — and set off.
“I’m on the Beltway, cruisin’,” West says, voice high, emotional and inimitable. “Soon I start realizing I’m dozing in and out. I open my eyes and I went from this lane to that. I’m swervin’, and by the time I wake up, I’m about three exits past my exit.
“There’s this truck flying beside me –” West pauses; this next part is crucial — “and I’m scared to death. So I seen an officer coming up and I try to flag him down. I pull up next to him. He slows down and I get up in front of him. I tell the officer I’m not functioning well and I’m transporting weapons. … The rest of the story is what it is.
“I’m not proud of it,” concludes West, “but it looks way worse than it was.”
That’s the most telling portion of the story, but the entire article is filled with gems on West’s life. Before you read the article in its entirety, here are five quick things we learned about Delonte:
- Being on house arrest and probation until March kept him from attending functions with his teammates and showing up to practice early or staying late this past season.
- He likes to hunt and fish.
- Helping people who, like him, suffer from bipolar disorder has become his life’s mission.
- He paid his younger sister’s college tuition.
- He wants “a multi-year deal that grants him financial security.”
And finally five of f the tremendous West quotes that appear throughout the story:
- On house arrest: “When I broke my wrist they took me straight to the hospital. I got into trouble because I didn’t call and let them know I was going to the hospital. They said, ‘If something happens on the way to the hospital, I don’t know where you’re at, so you better call in advance next time.’ That’s how they was on me.”
- On bipolar disorder: “Sadness is a normal human emotion. And there’s a mechanism that kicks in and lets you know it’s time to stop being sad. With bipolar, that mechanism is out, so you don’t even know when you’re sad. … After we win a game, and I hit the winner and everyone is screaming my name I should feel good, but I might be down in the slums. I might have to go to the bathroom and say to myself, D, snap out of it. Come on baby! Smile. Life’s good.”
- On fan’s perception: “They put it all in one sentence. Delonte’s riding a motorcycle, he’s bipolar and that’s why he missed that shot, period.”
- On mentoring children: “Parents come to me and say, ‘Thank you. My son’s bipolar and nobody understands him, and it just means so much for you to speak on it.’ I hear that so much from people, it’s unreal.”
- On his redemption: “Print this: I ain’t lookin’ for no nipple to cry on. I’m just saying what it is. Hopefully, one day people won’t look at me as the boogieman.”