I specifically remember where I was when Delonte West was traded away from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
I was walking up the stairs of Progressive Field when the news illuminated the scoreboard just below the massive script Indians sign. “The Cavaliers have just traded Delonte West to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Ryan Hollins, Ramon Sessions, and a future draft pick.” the PA announcer said.
I was heartbroken.
LeBron James had already ruined my heart for that year, but the Cavaliers took away my soul when they traded Delonte West. Delonte was always a favorite in Cleveland, and a personal favorite of mine.
I specifically remember my Dad always saying, “who is this delinquent with all of the tattoos up and down his arms?” I always replied with “which one?”. He would then point out the “white” looking guy, and I would instantly put up my dukes and defend Delonte till the end.
Delonte West was always an incredibly productive basketball player. He hustled every minute for the Cavaliers, and seemingly drained shot after shot. It was easy to see why he was so likable to Cavs fans. He gave everything he had for Cleveland.
I knew the Cavs had to trade him, as they were completely revamping the organization, but it was especially hard to see him go.
Even after he left town, I kept tabs on Delonte. He was released by the Timberwolves almost immediately, which angered me even further, but was eventually picked up by the Boston Celtics.
It was before he got to Boston that things kind of blew up for Delonte. Following the infamous Gloria James scandal, Delonte was found with a large amount of weapons in Maryland and his battle with bi-polar disorder hit the mainstream. It was obvious that whoever Delonte West was going to play for, they were going to have to put a lot of time and effort into his well being.
In my opinion, Boston wasn’t ready to do that. They played him minimally, and they knew that his second stint in Boston would be much shorter than his first. The Celtics were a title contender, and the last thing they wanted to do was to have a distraction like Delonte hindering them from competing for a Championship.
He then quickly moved onto Dallas, where things seemingly began to go well again for Mr. West. His play time increased and his off the field issues seemed to be minimizing. That was until this season.
If you’ve ever seen Delonte West’s twitter account, @CharleeRedz13, Delonte really gives you a good deep look into his life. He’s shown us that being a professional basketball player, especially a player with a past like his own, is not all that it’s cracked up to be. He seemingly has little money, often eats fast food, because that’s all his budget will afford him, and is still struggling with his bi-polar disorder. Obviously, his life is privileged and better than most, but especially with a mental illness like Delonte’s, life can’t be all rainbows and roses.
At times, Delonte can be histerical and more often than not, a little too personal, (he once showed his Twitter followers the aftermath of a bout with a stomach bug). However, he really allows you to see what kind of a guy he is. He allows you to see what his life is like, and that it’s not the fairytale that it’s made out to be.
Recently, I think Delonte may have hit a new rock bottom. He was just released by the Dallas Mavericks for “conduct detrimental to the team”. He was apparently in arguments after a few pre-season games, and just like that, the Mavericks couldn’t deal with him any longer.
He had a Twitter post, (again you can read this @CharleeRedz13 on Twitter because I’m not going to repeat it), which definitely made it seem as though he is truly alone in this world and just needs to be given that care and affection that he deserves.
For those that don’t know all that much about Delonte West, aka my father, he can give the appearance of ignorance and “delinquency”. He is very rough around the edges. His tattoos up and down his body, his rather odd facial features, and his incredibly unrefined grammar don’t help Delonte’s cause. He doesn’t give the appearance of a model citizen or a model person. That’s entirely the problem.
Delonte West has a good heart. He is a humble human being who loves those around him and who is extremely grateful for all he has been given. He “keeps it real” with everyone, his family, his friends, his teammates, and even strangers. Maybe his honesty is what gets him in trouble at times. I think that the organizations for which he works often believe that he keeps it too real.
I also think that for Delonte West, it’s time to come home.
Delonte West’s most prosperous years as an NBA player came as a Cleveland Cavalier. Not only was his on-court production at it’s highest, I think he was loved more in Cleveland than he had ever been in his life.
In Cleveland, Cavs fans realized what a truly good and honest person Delonte was and respected him greatly for it. We valued so greatly his hustle and his desire to give back to Cleveland the love that we gave to him. Cleveland was the perfect fit for Delonte before LeBron dismantled the franchise.
While it wouldn’t have been right for Delonte to come back to Cleveland even a few months ago, I think the time is right for Delonte’s return.
It’s a win-win-win. It’s a win for the Cavaliers basketball team, it’s a win for Delonte West the basketball player, and it’s a win for Delonte West the human being. Sometimes I think we as sports fans forget that, after all, these players are human beings.
It’s no surprise that the Cavaliers, in all likelihood, are going to struggle to reach the playoffs again. While we don’t know exactly what will happen, all signs are pointing to another lottery pick. Dion Waiters, THUS FAR, has struggled and the Cavaliers are looking for answers on the offensive side of the ball. Delonte West could do two things for the Cavaliers. First and foremost, Delonte could be a very good backup point guard for Kyrie Irving. The hole that Irving would leave while he’s on the bench would be filled by a player more than capable of making plays and scoring points. West could also be a good two guard for the Cavaliers, you know, in case Waiters continues his struggles. An Irving, West, Miles, Gee, Thompson, Varejao, and Zeller rotation would look very very nice this season.
The worst that happens is that Dion starts to pan out and Delonte has no role on the team for the future. Yet another positive for the Cavaliers.
For Delonte West, Cleveland would be a chance to resume his productivity as a basketball player. Since leaving Cleveland he truly has not been given the chance to play the basketball he is capable of. I believe that in Cleveland he would get that chance and could definitely return to his old self. He would be a great source of offense that the Cavaliers so desperately need.
I think the more valuable aspect of return to Cleveland would be some love, caring, and stability in his personal life. Delonte has yet to be appreciated as he was in Cleveland, and in the wake of these hard times in his life, he could surely use some appreciation again.
Delonte West is one of the most “difficult to figure out” players in sports. His unrefined style truly does not reflect the man that Delonte truly is. He is a humble, grateful, troubled, and learning man that is just looking for some form of help in his life. I know he has the help of psychologists and other medical professionals, but I believe that sometimes the best help comes from the ones who aren’t being paid to help you. The ones that honestly care and love and cherish you. That’s where the help for Delonte West is going to come.
It would be a great situation all around. The Cavaliers would be a better basketball team, Delonte could prove that he is still an above average basketball player, and Delonte could get the love and support that he deserves. Like my Dad, the world needs to give Delonte the chance to prove himself to be the loving, kind-hearted, and honest man that he is. And I can’t think of a better place for that chance than Cleveland, Ohio.
Follow Hayden on Twitter @H_Grove