Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West has consistently been recognized as one of the NBA’s more intriguing personalities. While his talent and skill level sort of ensure that he'll never be anything more than a (possibly) valuable role player on a good team, his well-publicized battle with bipolar disorder and fascinating career up to this point make him a brand name among The Association’s hardcore fans.
In a special interview with Brad Townsend of Dallas News, West threw fans who thought they knew the enigmatic baller for a loop when he revealed that he was essentially homeless during his first few weeks with the Mavs this year. Because of some restrictions the team had as far as providing him with housing and his inability to find a place by himself, West opted to live out of his truck for a short while.
After joining the Mavericks, the team gave him a hotel room during a very brief training camp. However, once the regular season got started, NBA salary cap rules blocked the team from providing housing for West. He said he tried to rent apartments around North Texas but failed, because they were either too expensive or he wasn't allowed because of his legal troubles.
So West would get a hotel room when the Mavericks were on the road, but when they came back to Dallas late after road trips, he had no place to stay. So rather than getting a hotel room for just a few hours, he would sleep in the American Airlines Center locker room area or park his truck in the arena players garage and rest.
The problem with this supposedly shocking revelation is that it has a lot of weird circumstances surrounding it. While we obviously don’t have all of the facts at this point, it seems like West simply made the conscious decision to live out of his car just because finding an apartment was a little tougher than it probably should have been. Even if he did have serious money troubles and he did have people refusing to rent to him, it’s hard to imagine that he couldn’t find a cheaper, smaller apartment somewhere in Dallas that would work. Teenagers making a fraction of his yearly paycheck can get apartments – but an NBA player can’t?
By far, the most interesting thing to come out of West’s interview with Townsend was his decision to speak on old rumors about him and Gloria James. For that that don’t remember – West was rumored to have messed around with LeBron James’ mother during the pair’s time as members of the Cleveland Cavaliers. The rumors were never substantiated in any way, but they had a much longer lifespan than baseless rumors typically do. That alone made folks scratch their heads and wonder if there was a kernel of truth to the talk somewhere.
Not so, according to West. Via that Dallas News column:
There's an elephant in the room _ the Internet rumor _ that the reporter has no intention of broaching because it was never remotely substantiated. It, too, became part of comedy routines.
"It's affected me," West says. "Everywhere I go, first question, 'Don't tell me you did that.' "
"That" would be the rumor that during the 2010 playoffs, West had a sexual encounter with Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James' mother, Gloria.
West says he wants to permanently squash the rumor not just for his sake, but mostly for James and his mother, who West says expressed nothing but kindness during his three seasons in Cleveland.
In fact, West says Gloria James reminded him of his single mother, Delphina Addison, who raised Delonte and his siblings to be "happy-poor, just enjoy life and the blessings that God has given us.
"If we want to continue to grow as a human race, what are we teaching our kids if we try to make humor and fun out of stuff like that?" West says of the rumor. "Number one, something like that never happened. I don't know where they got that from.
"For a strong black woman like that, for people to try to tear her down, that's terrible. That's terrible in so many ways."
West is a guy you simultaneously feel bad for and annoyed by every single time he speaks on his troubles. On one hand, money and success in the most salary-friendly sports league in America isn’t everything, and it certainly doesn’t guarantee happiness. At the same time, though, it should guarantee that you don’t make stupid financial decisions that cost you your massive fortune and it should guarantee that you don’t turn getting in legal trouble into a hobby.
Here’s to hoping that West gets his life together at some point soon because, for better or worse, he doesn’t have too many second chances left.