Michael Beasley was once regarded as a player whose talent measured up to elite NBA forwards. But even at the early juncture, there were some red flags about his character.
Flashes of potential greatness were overshadowed by off-court issues that had Beasley bouncing from team to team for years. Today, at the age of 32, his love for the game is still strong. But the need for another chance is as big as ever, and it goes way beyond basketball.
Beasley breaks down during an interview
"I'm tired, bro," Beasley said during his appearance on The Pivot Podcast. “I don’t know no one that ain’t stole from me. Everybody except for my kids stole from me.”
At that moment, a basketball interview turned into a cry for help. Beasley opened up, and everything that caused his NBA downfall came to the surface.
"I had to wake up one day in the league, one day in the summertime, and find out everybody was stealing from me," he said. "Everybody from my financial advisor, my mom, to everybody in my fuc*ing family, to the point where I was faced with two evils; do I let this go on and not tell them because this is my family, or do I cut them off and don't have no family?"
With everything that happened to him, Beasley lost trust in people. Ever since then, he's been trying to find others who will help him navigate through life without wanting anything in return or taking it by themselves.
So far, nothing. And he's sick of trying.
"Do I have to be in Delonte West’s shoes to get help?” asked Beasley. “No disrespect to Delonte West or people in his position. But what does it take to do the right thing? My whole life I asked for help. People called me crazy. I don’t leave the house. I play basketball, and I go home. I don’t care what y’all do no more. I try to talk to my kids as much as I can. I’ve reached out so much, so many times to different people and it’s just, I have to die with some kind of dignity.”
"There's no reason in hell I should not be playing"
Basketball has always been Beasley's way out. And the passion for the game is still there. But the immunity to everything that derives from being an NBA player isn't.
The story of his rise and fall in the league has been told and retold hundreds of times, and the public perception about the 6-9 forward is shaped. But according to Micheal, the narrative about him has never been fair. It only scratched the surface of his life, but even that was enough to insert instability into his NBA career.
"I'm the only player in the fuc*ing history of history that's gotten whatever off the court and held accountable on the court. If you look at my numbers, if you look at how I play the game, there's no reason in hell I should not be playing basketball."
Michael Beasley, The Pivot Podcast
12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 22.8 minutes for his career should be enough for a team to at least look into signing the 32-year-old Beasley. But here we are, three quarters into the season, and almost three years removed from his last NBA game, and Michael is still a free agent.
Before this season, he even suited up for the Trail Blazers in the NBA’s Vegas Summer League and averaged 11.4 points on 44% from the floor and 45% from three. However, no team decided to give him a chance -- not now, and according to Beasley, not ever.
"I've never gotten a chance to play basketball," he said. "Everywhere I've gone, I've shown that I should be playing basketball and I've always watched more than half the game, and then, watching more than half the game, I've watched the narrative go 'This is why he's not playing, this is why, this is why...' It's like, 'Fu*k y'all.'"
The discrepancy between what's been said/written about Beasley and what was actually going on behind closed doors led Michael to this point. Years-long traumas culminated in the minutes-long eye-opening dive into his life, with a warning that echoes throughout the entire NBA community -- we have to be better.
Until we can get there, let's hope that this call for help won't be left unanswered.