As I’m sure you have heard by now (if you haven’t you must be living under some sort of rock), Delonte West was arrested on gun possession charges last Thursday. In case you don’t know the details, he was speeding on his motorcycle past a police cruiser packing two loaded handguns and a shotgun in a guitar case.
Nothing bad happened, West cooperated with police and nothing transpired besides the whole carrying loaded firearms on a motorcycle thing. I don’t view that as the silver lining in the dark cloud, instead I view it as a blessing that lightning didn’t crash down upon us and leave a giant scorched patch on the ground. The whole situation is ripe with questions and possibilities. Why did he have all of those weapons? Was he intending to defend himself against enemies that may or may not exist? Why does he have a guitar case? Can he shred like Santana or is it just for looks?
All kidding aside, this is an extremely serious situation with all too real consequences. West has admitted to having depression, which is beyond jokes or speculation. He went and got help last year before the season started, leaving the Cavaliers for some period of time. It is possible that this current kerfuffle is somehow related to his depression and “mood disorder”, but perhaps Delonte is carrying out, as do many other athletes who feel that they need to protect themselves, is protecting him.
They see themselves as targets because of their fame, celebrity, and wealth. People know who he is and know he is pulling down some sort of coin, so he feels threatened by the possibility that sinister things can happen. It is the same, or very similar, thought process that Plaxico Burress had when he brought a gun to a club. Now, debates can be had about the necessity of the firearm for the athlete, but I am not one to tell someone not to protect him.
Delonte has gained some almost cult like status among people around the basketball nation, particularly around Ohio. His style, his swagger, his play, everything is subject to acceptance and even adoration. His hair, his tattoos, and his speech are unique and in some ways awesome. He is a jokester who gained national notoriety for telling JJ Hickson to get him some donuts, spawning a fantastic shirt and much laughter.
Basically, Delonte is one of my favorite players and I hope this situation doesn’t infringe too much on his future. What he did was illegal (you can’t carry weapons like that how he did) and he should accept some sort of punishment. What strikes me about this situation is that it is at once surprising and not at all.
It is surprising in the aspect that I couldn’t have predicted this would happen more than a week ago. Yet, when news broke, I was far from shocked that Delonte would be involved in something like this. I think it is due to the fact that I don’t really know who Delonte West is beyond the basketball court. So, anything he does is accepted at face value for normal for him.
Now, if Andre Miller would be caught doing the same thing, those who follow the game would be up in arms and aghast at the prospect. Just as nobody would be truly surprised if the same story were told and “Delonte West” were replaced with “Ron Artest” or “Stephon Marbury”. Not that Delonte is a troublemaker or a rabble-rouser, because he is far from it. But it is the idea that nobody really knows about Delonte or his goings-on.
When more details are released, the situation surrounding the incident will hopefully lose its murky nature and become clearer. We are looking for the answer to the many questions that are surrounding Delonte and his reasons for packing so much heat.