Michael Beasley was waived recently by Phoenix only one year after signing a free agent contract for $18 million. The Suns have become the third organization to give up on this extremely gifted basketball player. Unfortunately, Beasley could not balance his life and grow into what was expected of him when he was chosen with the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA draft.
When he was drafted, we were enamored with his abilities and potential. Sadly, the people closest to him knew it was highly probable that he would blow up. Either he did not listen to them or, for selfish reasons, they did not overextend themselves to help him.
In my book You Big Dummy- An Athlete's Simple Guide to a Successful Career; I wrote about how professional leagues are in a tough position because they are receiving a percentage of players that have not been taught how to balance their lives and, most importantly, have not been versed on the true meaning of the word "No".
Beasley is only 24 years old and has already lived a life of a 50-year-old man in regards to stress. He has not been able to actually enjoy playing the game of basketball because of his off-the-court problems. As expected, that has affected his ability to grow into his talent.
Last year, I watched him play well in spurts, but he was never able to build a good rhythm. I have analyzed games for the Phoenix Suns on TV over the last 14 years and that's one thing that drives me crazy.
I was a player that could turn a made free throw and a layup into knocking down eight out of my following 10 shots and then roll it over into a five-game hot streak scoring 20-plus off the bench.
Beasley would get hot for a quarter with quality basketball decisions and look like an All -Star. Then the next quarter he would look like a completely different player who didn't have a clue how to play.
When you look deeper into his past, you start to understand that he was not taught how to balance his life as a teenager. This is why we see these results time and time again with our athletes.
He plays basketball just as he has lived his life... Unbalanced.
How can you be balanced when you are not living with your parents as a teenager or you have attended six different high schools in a span of five years?
How can you be balanced when you are being treated like a king because of the potential to become a professional basketball player?
How can you be balanced when the very person who gained your trust and moved you into your home for five years (Curtis Malone, his AAU coach) gets arrested for conspiracy to distribute drugs?
There is no doubt that the Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns knew about Beasley's struggles. Instead of being ridiculed for taking a chance with him, they should be applauded for not blaming him for early life situations that were obviously out of his control.
What Beasley needs to recognize now is that having potential will allow him one more strike. This is it.
There will indeed be another team that privately is willing to take a chance. They envision him as an added piece that could potentially elevate them to a championship run. Veteran-laden teams with a solid core and who have an ability to waive him again quickly are the possibilities.
Although I grew up without a dad in the inner city of Chicago, I had a stable home because of my single mom, who helped me balance my life. That saved me and allowed me to enjoy a long professional career like thousands of others.
Beasley has been balancing his job and life by turning left and involving himself with drugs, drinking and questionable friendships.
If he wants to turn it around he better make a hard right turn and engage himself in all the things that will allow him to become a great man, father and citizen. This abrupt direction shift could finally lead him to becoming the very good basketball player that we have expected to see since 2008.
I am rooting for him because we all deserve chances in life to reach our potential. Even though Beasley has the potential to become a good basketball player, this may not be his true purpose in life.
I guess we will find out soon.