Delonte West is that story no player in the NBA wants to live out. Once a promising player of the LeBron James generation, his career and life have spiraled downward. His fortune has hit rock bottom, with the latest estimates citing his net worth in 2020 as a mere $1,000. A recent video appearing to show him after an alleged altercation has gone viral. Several NBA fans are curious about his life outside the league and what led to his current situation.
Delonte West Was Drafted by the Boston Celtics
Maryland native Delonte Maurice West (born July 26, 1983), showcased a prowess for basketball when he was in high school. He then shone on the court at Saint Joseph’s University, alongside fellow NBA prospect Jameer Nelson.
West was selected by the Boston Celtics in the 2004 NBA draft, and signed a four-year contract worth $4.92 million. But his debut season with them was riddled with injuries. Between 2004 and 2007, West transitioned from the bench to point guard to starting point guard for the Celtics.
After three seasons with the Celtics, he was traded to the Seattle SuperSonics, and later to the Cleveland Cavaliers. In his time with the Cavaliers, from 2008 to 2010, West accomplished the biggest records of his entire NBA career, particularly as a supporting cast on LeBron James’ championship-winning team. The contract also earned him a base salary of $4.2 million for a year.
LeBron: Dad save me!
Delonte: No problem son pic.twitter.com/GN1SjgwJXh
— Delonte West 🅥 (@PrimeDelonte) July 23, 2017
But unfounded rumors that West was having an affair with James’ mom seemed to affect both athletes. While there was baseless speculation about a rift between LeBron and his sidekick, West had publicly acknowledged James’ support as he struggled with mental health issues.
After James went to Miami, West was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He signed a one-year contract worth $1.0 million to return to the Celtics but was suspended for several games, owing to the weapons charge he was facing in 2010.
He signed with the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011-12 season, earning approximately $922,000 that year. He got a raise to $1.2 million in the 2012-13 season, bringing his total earnings playing for the Mavericks to over $2.14 million.
After being waived by Dallas, West spent the rest of his career in the NBA D-League and also in China.
At the peak of his career, Delonte West was said to be worth an estimated $16.0 million. That figure declined to $100,000 in his D-League days. His slew of difficulties lately has only left $1,000 of his NBA fortune.
Here’s how Delonte West compares to other NBA players of his generation.
Delonte West Applied at Home Depot during the NBA Lockout
Despite earning millions in NBA salaries alone, West’s tragic downfall is one of the worst nightmares of any athlete. He had once eased the financial burdens of his immediate and extended family, only to lose his fortune in more ways than one.
The once bankable athlete’s legal and financial problems are said to be connected to his struggles with mental illness. Although he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, West has publicly disputed the diagnosis. He attributes his manic episodes to temporary depression and the pressures of being an NBA player.
In 2009, he was pulled over for a traffic violation, but ended up getting caught with firearms on him. He was arrested and later pleaded guilty to weapons charges.
With the NBA as his only source of income, the 2011 NBA Lockout of over eight months was very hard on West. He reportedly had to sell off his cars and jewelry, live out of the Mavericks locker room, and look for a temporary job.
At the time, he took to Twitter to claim that he’d filled out a job application at Home Depot. He went on to reveal that his legal woes from the weapons charges prevented him from seeking work overseas, thus limiting his basketball playing options.
During the lockout, he even had a brief job at a Brandywine furniture store and reportedly sold box sets of knives with his brother at a stand in Costco.
He reportedly lost a lot of money in his divorce from his first wife. He later married one Caressa Suzzette Madden in 2013, after meeting her through mutual friends during his NBA unemployment.
They have a son, Cash West, together and West had hoped that he would be able to provide his wife and son a better life once he was signed to a team. However, his professional basketball career was as good as over after 2015.
When Madden was pregnant and living with West in his mansion, he was reportedly too broke to afford heating during the winter. He even reportedly proposed to her by tying a string of jump rope to her finger, claiming he couldn’t afford a ring.
Delonte West Is Rumored to Be Homeless
The most harrowing picture of West’s post-NBA condition was a viral moment in 2016. On a few occasions, he was seen in conditions that are a far cry from normal for an NBA talent.
In February 2016, a fan spotted West in the parking lot of a Jack In The Box. He was reportedly barefoot and wearing a hospital gown over his clothes.
The fan approached him and asked him if he was Delonte West. The former NBA star said, “I used to be, but I’m not about that life anymore.”
Later that year, a photograph of him allegedly panhandling in a parking lot was doing the rounds on the Internet, leading to speculation that he was broke and homeless. His fans went on Twitter urging everyone to pray for his mental health back then.
However, West denied that he was homeless and “bumming.” He claimed he was helping a paraplegic homeless man in his neighborhood.
But this former athlete’s cautionary tale only gets worse in January 2020. A new disturbing series of videos appearing to feature West has surfaced, raising concerns for his mental health.
In one video, a man who appears to be a very pitiful-looking West is seen getting beat up in the street. A second video filmed by the police show the man in cuffs, rambling and ranting about the earlier altercation.
Apparently Delonte West was seen getting beat up in the street this Morning. I went to school with him and it’s crazy to see just how his life has gone downhill since the NBA. pic.twitter.com/chm6Sbu9h6
— Measha⚡️ (@N90sKindOfWorld) January 20, 2020
Since the videos surfaced, various athletes and NBA players have shown their support for West and pledged to help him.
West’s old friend, Jameer Nelson, has slammed the online trolls making fun of West’s condition. He also promised to do what he can to get his old college teammate the help he needs. Nelson and West’s Saint Joseph’s coach, Phil Martelli, has also sent a plea to help the athlete.
— Jameer Nelson (@jameernelson) January 21, 2020
While other athletes are trying their best to reach out to West, his fans are urging the NBA to step in and help this once promising athlete.