Delonte West: Now There's a New Maverick Who Deserves His Own Reality Show

Categories: Sports

800px-Delonte_West_Drew_vs_Goodman.jpg
Delonte West did not schtup LeBron's mom. That other shit you heard? Yeah, that's probably true.
It won't get the buzz that landing Lamar Odom or Vince Carter will, but last night the Mavericks made what will easily be their most interesting move of this abridged off-season, signing guard Delonte West to a one-year deal.

ESPN summed West up as "a tenacious defender," which is a little like calling Ken Kesey a bus driver. West is so, so much more: a leader, a sneaky scorer, a comic stylist, a rapper, a depressive, a gun-toting biker, a furniture salesman and the man at the center of the almost-definitely-false rumor that swallowed up a championship-level Cavaliers team -- a team, by the way, that two years ago won 66 games with West as a starter.

He will play for the veteran's minimum. For the reasons I'm about to outline, he is worth much, much more. At least to the city's bloggers.

West, 28, began his career in Boston after starring at St. Joseph's alongside Jameer Nelson in what was considered one of the best college back courts in the country. Early on in his NBA career, he seemed just a bit of a goof, willing to give the glazed-over beat scrum something a little extra as they toiled toward deadline:
West got traded to Cleveland in 2008, and found himself starting at shooting guard, a linchpin on the league's best regular-season team. He was, throughout that regular season and into the playoffs, a joy to watch, finding improbable ways to get to the basket when the Cavs' offense inevitably devolved into the pound-and-panic routine that Mike Brown and LeBron James so perfected together. And his defense? Tough, annoying, relentless. It was his calling card, and it stood out even on a truly great defensive team.

He apparently brought that same relentlessness to meetings, where, if you believe Shaquille O'Neal's memoir, West stood up to James when even Brown wouldn't. (H/T Cleveland Scene.)

I remember one day in a film session LeBron didn't get back on defense after a missed shot. Mike Brown didn't say anything about it. He went to the next clip and it was Mo Williams not getting back and Mike was saying, "Yo, Mo, we can't have that. You've got to hustle a little more." So Delonte West is sitting there and he's seen enough and he stands up and says, "Hold up, now. You can't be pussyfooting around like that. Everyone has to be accountable for what they do, not just some us." Mike Brown said, "I know, Delonte. I know." Mike knew Delonte was right. ...
It was actually before O'Neal's arrival, though, that West's life, which often seemed to be riding perilously on the rails, finally jumped the track. A basketball-less Delonte West is, by most accounts, a somewhat troubled Delonte West, and he cemented that reputation when he was pulled over on a Washington, D.C.-area highway before the 2009 season. Police had noticed his three-wheeled motorcycle swerving erratically. They pulled him over, at which point he informed them that he had with him some notable cargo: a 9mm Beretta pistol, .357 Magnum and a Remington 870, all stashed in a guitar case.

West pleaded guilty to misdemeanor weapons charges, and all signs pointed to him helping the Cavs make another run. But the signs, as they often are with people suffering from mental illness, were all fucked up. Scott Raab, the Esquire writer who chronicled LeBron James' departure in his gut-punching book The Whore of Akron, has wrestled with West's demons more than any journalist, in the book and for Deadspin. Raab was in Cleveland as that season got under way.

On the Cavs' Media Day a few weeks later, West sloughed off the arrest as no big thing. Not long after that, in the locker room before a preseason game, he verbally assaulted a reporter after the reporter asked him how he was doing. "Step the fuck off," he snarled. "Motherfucking faggot. Fuck you." The team's media relations people cleared the room and denied that any such incident had occurred. The journalists covering the team agreed among themselves to ignore what had happened.

What had happened was no mystery. West had revealed the season before that he suffers from severe bipolar disorder. And now he was off his meds.

West never really made it back that season; his minutes dropped, his points dropped, his presence dropped. As the Cavs quit their way out of the playoffs, rumors swirled that the team had been derailed by West's dalliance with James' mom -- a rumor that Raab has reported may have actually been started by James' management team, as a sad little effort to deflect attention from James' playoff meltdown. (Sorry, LeBron: Ball don't lie -- is that the saying?)

Whatever, though: West was done in Cleveland, back in Boston for an injury-plagued 2010-2011, then back into the free-agency ether this summer.

And apparently he was there without too much cash stored up. As the lockout wore on, West applied for, and landed, a job at a furniture store:

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Luckily for basketball fans -- and, let's be honest, for society at large -- West is back on the job he was born to do. And no, we're not talking about rapping. Although, yes, he does that too:



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13 comments
cp
cp

Again... why is the DO not posting about sports on the sports blog?

MattL1
MattL1

Next time an employment application asks me to describe any criminal convictions in full, I'm just going to put "misunderstanding."  Because, when all is said and done, aren't they all?

Badmknkey
Badmknkey

Ain't nothing but a chicken wing..

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

Delonte is going to be awesome...off the court. Im setting the over/under he's running naked in the streets at 2 1/2...

ChrisU
ChrisU

Dirk's mother is in Germany so hey let's see what he can do for us.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Can we hope for a game where he's acting like Carrie did on Sunday's episode of Homeland? Because that would be awesome.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

I'm just hoping he's on his meds, and that the good strong clubhouse of the little Mavs embrace Delonte with open arms.  There isn't anyone available, for the price, who could impact this thing like he could. 

I'm looking for another deal to acquire a big...but even if this is what we have, considering that the pace at which the league is gonna be running this season..a whole bunch of smalls and wings is probably the right way to construct a team.

I look for this lineup to be on the floor at the end of games: Dirk, Odom, Marion, Jet and Kidd..that's a lot of talent, length and experience. 

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

Nah, better yet do a Jason Garrett/Tony Romo and say you're not interested in the past, you're looking ahead.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

odds west gets tossed out of the mansion wearing abercrombie gear kicking and punching offering a billion dollars to let him go

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Isn't Marion's mom hanging around pretty close for his reality show?

Keep an eye on him, Shawn.

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

I believe the saying is POW!

Sam_Merten
Sam_Merten

"...that's a lot of talent, length and experience."

A perfect setup for Michael Scott.

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