There has been another incident in the tragic fall of Delonte West.
Recently former NBA star was reportedly seen in Houston, Texas wandering around a Jack-in-the-Box parking lot in bare feet and a flannel shirt covered by a vest and hospital johnny.
Delonte West was a first round draft pick for the Boston Celtics in 2004. He spent about nine years in the NBA , including one year in the NBA D-League, before heading to China in 2013. He returned to the NBA D-League in 2015. His career started strong, but he began to be plagued by problems. He was arrested in 2009 on weapons charges, faced suspensions from games, and was being waived by team after team in the NBA. The 32 year-old father of two made $16 million while in the NBA and has sunk far enough to have to endure time with no heat in his home.
A fan spotted West and reportedly asked him "Are you Delonte West?" to which Delonte reportedly replied: "I used to be, but I'm not about that life anymore".
The fan took a few photos which were posted to his Instagram account and which eded up on NBA Central's Twitter feed.
Delonte West was recently spotted wandering around in Houston with no shoes...
Life comes at you fast. pic.twitter.com/GFr7SQW5TA
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) February 22, 2016
So how could this happen...to anyone? Mental illness does not discriminate. Delonte was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2008. Mental illness can pull the greatest of stars from the sky and the lowliest into its vortex. While it can be treated, symptoms can be severe. It affects the quality of life for roughly 5.7 million adults in America alone. That is about 2.6% of the adults in the country. There is far more to Bipolar than just "mood swings".
While it is easy to look at the behavior of an individual, or in this case former NBA star, and pass judgement, just remember: mental illness effects millions. It is not a joke or something to be made light of. More likely than not, we all know more people who suffer from mental illness than we even realize. Those who suffer with it suffer completely and need help and support, not mocking and humiliation.