A witness told police that former NBA star Delonte West threw a glass bottle at another man Monday to set off a surreal scene caught on video that has many in the basketball community pleading the former point guard to get help.
Police said they responded to an early-morning call about a fight near the MGM National Harbor casino, located just across the border from Washington in Prince George’s County, Md. When officers arrived, they saw a man bleeding from the face and “made the decision to handcuff” West.
Video shot by a police officer shows the 36-year-old West shirtless and handcuffed while sitting on a Maryland sidewalk, and another video shows West appearing to be beaten up in the middle of a road.
TMZ on Tuesday reported the witness account, which said West prompted the fight by hitting the other man with a bottle multiple times. TMZ reported West said someone approached him with a gun, which was not confirmed.
Police said West and the other man knew each other and were arguing earlier that morning. Both refused to press charges or accept medical treatment.
The police officer who shot the video was suspended after it was leaked to social media and went viral.
West, a former first-round pick in the NBA draft who made $16 million playing for the Celtics, SuperSonics, Cavaliers and Mavericks, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008.
He last played in the NBA in 2012, and his professional career fizzled out in 2015 following two stops in the Chinese Basketball Association.
Monday’s incident was the latest to sound off alarms, as Jameer Nelson, West’s college teammate at Saint Joseph’s, and former St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli were among those who asked for West to receive medical help.
“I’m sick today [sic] my stomach right now seeing the videos of Delonte,” Nelson wrote. “To answer everybody that’s reaching out to me about his situation … all we can do is pray for Him and his family and hope that he seeks the proper help. Mental illness is something that a lot of people deal with and don’t even know it, until sometimes it’s too late. I’m not sure what exactly is going on with Dwest but he knows I’m in his corner and will help him get through this.
The concerns about West’s well-being are well-documented. In 2016, he reportedly was spotted ambling around a Jack In The Box parking lot in Houston, while appearing to be disheveled.
When someone asked whether he was Delonte West, he reportedly responded: “I used to be, but I’m not about that life anymore.”
Two years later, West was photographed wearing ragtag attire and carrying a cardboard sign.
West said in a statement he was only helping a “homeless man in my neighborhood that’s paralyzed from the neck down.”
West married in 2013 and has two sons, but it unclear whether he still is in that relationship.
— With AP