Michael Beasley, the former No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft, had a solid rookie season where made the NBA All-Rookie First Team.
From there his career spiraled downward. He never lived up to expectations and bounced around the league and then the world playing basketball. During his stint with the Lakers in 2018-19, “B-EZ” as he’s affectionately known in the DMV, his hometown, was dealing with a myriad of off-the-court personal situations.
From his mother being sick with cancer and eventually passing, to the death of a close cousin, he was burdened emotionally with no outlet or sounding board. With all that going on in his head, during a game at OKC he tried to check into a game with his practice shorts on. The incident went viral, and Beasley became the brunt of jokes and memes for weeks.
Michael Beasley hooping again 🔥 pic.twitter.com/qzLTpvgOSx
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 11, 2021
People framed him as a weed-smoking knucklehead. Beasley shook off the negative energy by always flashing that happy-go-lucky smile. But inside he was suffering from emotional anxiety and depression.
In an interview with Hoops Hype, he discussed that incident, how it transpired and was the culmination of some devastating emotional blows.
All-time Michael Beasley moment. Goes to scorer’s table to check in, denied because he’s wearing wrong shorts. pic.twitter.com/naGxnQXqgM
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) January 18, 2019
“Off the court, my mom died when I was playing for the Lakers. I fought through that, and I came back. My cousin died the game I forgot my shorts in Oklahoma. I was battling that day, I was trying to push through it. I wanted to go to the funeral, but I was already gone when my mom died.”
“I just wanted to be there for my team, and the whole world laughed at me. My whole career, I’ve never been given a chance to show who I really am, how I can really play, show that I can really win and be somebody. The whole world laughed at me, it hurt my feelings, I’m not going to lie.”
Beasley Is A Journeyman: Looking For One Last Shot
During his NBA career Beasley’s played for seven teams and never really established himself as core guy on any of them. He’s always been considered a guy with talent, but his early struggles never offered him a clean slate. Midway through his career, he was labeled a “bust” of sorts, and even when he performed well at various stops throughout the league, there wasn’t a franchise that would commit to him being an integral part of any winning puzzle.
His off-the-court battles, along with family turbulence, played a major role in his demise. His career was expected to be so much more, especially after his All-Rookie nod, and he knows it himself.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) June 4, 2013
“Honestly speaking, I think people don’t disrespect but overlook what I’ve been able to do in the amount of time I’ve been able to do it in. If you look at my per 36 numbers for every team, they’re All-Star caliber numbers (19.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists). My argument for my career is I’ve never been given a chance to play extra minutes.”
Now he’s hoping for one more shot to show he can help a team. Seeing a lot of vets getting a shot to play in the league again gives Beasley hope and he even thinks he’s better than he was ….
Open Gym Michael Beasley = 🐐
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 22, 2022
“I’m better than I’ve ever been. The last three years, 100 percent, I wish I could’ve been playing basketball at some level. One thing it’s done for me is it’s given me a chance to remember who I am, fall in love with that person again, and teach him how to play basketball and learn from what he’s learned over the years. These last three years I’ve just been perfecting my craft on every level on both sides of the ball.”
Beasley had most recently joined other NBA veterans such as Lance Stephenson, Joe Johnson and Jeremy Lin in the NBA’s G-League.
With the way COVID has affected the NBA season and forced teams to sign a variety of veterans, throwaways and second-chance seekers to 10-day contracts, maybe Beasley gets that shot he’s looking for.
To end his career with a feeling of accomplishment and not regret. Change the narrative about who he is, what he experienced and why he’s actually a survivor not a privileged player who didn’t appreciate his God-given talents.
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