By now, every Heat fan has heard that Michael Beasley has apparently gone into a Houston, TX rehab facility. Depending on what source you want to believe, he is either there for marijuana addiction, clinical depression, or both.
This picture is apparently the straw that broke the camel’s back. On his Twitter account (now closed), the mercurial Heat forward (with an apparent craving for attention) was showing off his new tattoo and people noticed baggies on the table behind him, with speculation that the baggies were filled with weed.
This is where I constantly remind myself that he is a kid, 20 years old, and an immature 20 years old at that. My heart does go out to him on that count. Add in the fact that he may have clinical depression, and you really feel bad for the kid. I’m not a psychologist, but I don’t think clinical depression can be dismissed as just feeling “a little blue” or “down in the dumps” like most of us get at any given time in our lives.
My head, however, can’t help but feel a little peeved at the organization and Beasley’s enablers and hangers-on. No, it’s not the team’s responsibility to manage their players’ private lives, but this can’t be a total surprise to the management.
Beasley had a TON of question marks coming out of K-State, and the team never embraced him coming out of college. I was never keen on Beas, I just didn’t see a true position for him on the court. He reminded me more of a classic tweener scorer, like an Antawn Jamison or Glenn Robinson (who went at the top of his draft) and Riley had a public flirtation of OJ Mayo. Wade reportedly wanted OJ Mayo. Based on rookie year performances, taking a Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, or Russell Westbrook wouldn’t have been a bad move on court (but admittedly, would have been a tough sell on draft night). Beasley was widely considered to be the top talent in the draft. I was worried about his lack of athleticism and position for the NBA. No doubt he’d be a 20 ppg scorer, but the league’s worst teams all have a ball-chucking 20 ppg scorer (see Davis, Ricky, or Walker, Antoine at various points in their career). But his off-court concerns were wide-spread and evident. It was chalked up to immaturity, but maybe it was more than that. Maybe it was that aloofness, that quirkiness in his personality that made his team and his teammates not fully embrace him. Before this incident, I was 100% sure that Beasley would not be on the team in 2011, that he’d be traded in a deal for one of the 2010 big named free agents like Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudamire. Now, I doubt any team takes a chance on him.
I mentioned his enablers and hangers-on. Beasley had already been in Strike One of the NBA’s drug violation policy. He needed someone in his circle – his family, his friends, his agent, his teammates, SOMEONE to knock some sense into him. If he was clinically depressed, someone needed to care enough about him to get him help. If he was hooked on weed, knowing he was already in the league violation policy, they should have cared enough to keep him away from it. No, smoking weed itself isn’t a terrible crime, but letting someone who could lose millions by being in violation should be enough to get someone to stop using.
This may end up being a good thing for the team and the player. Hopefully Beasley, still a kid, uses this as a chance to start his career and life over again. I hope he gets his shit together and come out the other end more mature, and healthier, physically and mentally. Keep telling yourself, like I do, that he is ONLY 20, and his life and career are ahead of him.