HoopsHype Keyon Dooling rumors

December 2, 2012 Updates

“It is weird, man,” he says. “Some people who hide sexual abuse get tormented by it. They know it, and they deny it. I couldn’t feel the emotion, but I could feel the effects because of my pattern of behavior. Some of the anger issues I had, especially at a young age, led me to start drinking early and smoking early and having sex early. It wasn’t until I got involved with sports that it was an outlet for me to get that negative energy out. I don’t know how I got myself in that situation. I’ve asked myself all these questions. “When it happens young, you blame yourself. I’m getting out of that. There is nothing I could have prevented. What I can do is raise awareness and be preventative.” Miami Herald

November 12, 2012 Updates

Dooling is safe now, because he was able to finally face down demons he'd kept buried throughout his adult life. He is safe because of a rock-solid wife, an organization that reached out when he needed it, and because he was willing to admit he needed help. Dooling, basically, suffered a nervous breakdown, which explained his sudden decision to retire in August after 12 NBA seasons. The breakdown culminated in a week-long stay in an asylum, and forced him to finally address the root of his troubles: the sexual abuse he had suffered when he was a child in Florida. NBA.com

After a lifetime of hiding the truth, Dooling now wants to tell his story, hoping that it will help kids that are in a similar predicament -- or convince potential predators to seek help before they destroy someone's life. "It started when I was five, and it happened multiple times," Dooling said. "It happened with men and women. I was abused by my brother's friend. I was five; he was about 13 or 14. But also young ladies, older ladies in our neighborhood. In my opinion, I thought I was cool at the time. I thought I was in the in crowd. I thought that was how it was supposed to be. And I was sadly mistaken. I didn't even realize the pattern of behavior I had taken on at such an early age." NBA.com

Dooling earned a reputation as a mentor for young players over the years, including the Pistons' Brandon Knight and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo. He was, in the NBA lexicon, a good locker room guy. He ascended to a vice presidential role in the players' union, always immaculately dressed, able to roll in all manner of different worlds, paying his mentor role forward as he had been helped over the years by the likes of Eddie Jones, Doug Overton and Adonal Foyle, among others. "It's my duty," Dooling said. "I get a lot of pleasure seeing young men, people around their game, reach their goals, accomplish their goals. Uplift their family, uplift their community. And a lot of times, cats just don't know how to do it. They don't know how to put a name or a face to that success they're striving to achieve. I kind of normalize it for them, because I've come from nothing. I've come from the slums, the City Zone, as we like to call it in Fort Lauderdale. I've had a very unique ride, a very unique journey." NBA.com

But the past was never far behind. As Dooling was deciding whether or not to return this season -- he had an open invite, basically, from the Celtics -- his behavior began to deteriorate. The week before the family moved back up north to Boston to get ready for the season, Natosha began noticing her husband acting erratically. He began having hallucinations. "I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't good," she said. "Just weird stuff that he would say, or do. I was just like, 'Hmm, what's going on? Is he OK?' I even called his momma at one point, but she really couldn't give me any answers. I knew something was wrong. Actually, I just stayed on my knees. I was just praying. That's all I know to do, just go before the Lord." NBA.com

He was at home, playing in the street in front of his home with his kids. A neighbor thought he was playing too roughly with the kids and called the police. There is uncertainty about how many officers showed up -- 10? 12? 20? -- but it was more than one. The Doolings were new to the neighborhood. They know the police were just doing their job, responding to a call. But a bunch of cops showing up, unannounced, banging on your door is a little disconcerting. "So I ran to the door to see what was going on," Keyon Dooling said. "I was like, 'Who is this knocking like they're the damn police?' That's what I said to myself. So when I got to the door, it was really the police. They was like, 'Get on the ground, get on the ground, get on the ground!' So I got on the ground." Natosha didn't know what to do, what to tell her kids. She was scared. Keyon had always been the strong one, able to handle whatever. And now he was being taken away. "I was just terrified," she recalled. "I was like, 'What is going on? Like, what are these people doing in my house?' ... And they separated us. They had the kids over here and me over there and Keyon over here. It was horrible. I was living in a nightmare. I was really living in a nightmare. I was terrified for myself, for my kids." NBA.com

"They try to find the right dosage of medicine," he said. "Unfortunately, the dosages are so high that they start out with, all the side effects hit you. And unfortunately, it's [during] visiting hours. So when my wife was coming, I was scared, because I had no control over what I said, what I thought. It was a bad situation." She noticed. "When I saw him, you could tell," Natosha said. "It was like they would give him the medicine, like they was timing to give him the medicine. They would give it to him when they knew I was coming, they would give it to him like four, five hours before so he could be a little calm, but still, [he was] talking out of the side of his head." NBA.com

"There's so much hurt, especially when you grow up in the inner city," he says, "whatever struggle it may have been growing up, fatherless, maybe abusive mother, maybe you've seen a stepfather being abused. Maybe you're like me and you were sexually abused. It hurts. Cops abuse people. Teachers abuse people, you know, like verbal abuse, physical abuse, any kind of abuse. It leaves wounds. And as athletes, a lot of times, we don't heal. We don't know how to heal. We're afraid of healing. Thus we get stuck with all this anger and all these different emotions where we don't even know where they're coming from. We've got to go within." NBA.com

November 8, 2012 Updates

Six weeks after his surprise retirement from the Celtics, Keyon Dooling accepted a role as a player development coordinator in the organization, he told reporters after the C's 100-94 victory against the Wizards. "Wow first day on the job!" tweeted Dooling, who will likely have to relinquish his position as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association. "Such a different experience." WEEI.com

October 30, 2012 Updates
October 16, 2012 Updates

That, insisted Keyon Dooling, is nothing new. It has been, he scolded, that way for years. "He is the most underappreciated leader in this league," Dooling declared. "Do you know how many times we were at the Rondo family home [last season]? We were there all the time, bonding, building team chemistry. "Honestly, our veterans didn't do a very good job of supporting him in his [leadership] role." ESPN.com

"Ray was great in many ways," Dooling said. "Rondo learned a lot from him -- how to prepare, how to take care of his body, how to be professional. "But the way Ray led was different than how Rajon did it. Not wrong, just different. "Ray didn't know how to communicate with Rondo the way some of us could, like myself, like KG, who fully embraced Rajon. "I love Ray. I love his family. He's a true pro. But it's unfair how this all came out. Ray had such a good relationship with all the reporters and Rondo was so quiet. So who gets all the good press? "Sometimes it felt like Ray spent more time talking to the media than he did to his teammates.'' ESPN.com

September 27, 2012 Updates

For over 30 years, he took on everyone else’s problems and internalized his own. The pillar of resiliency had cracks, too. He was just too strong to notice them as he focused on his career and the needs of others. Then, after re-signing with the Celtics in July and beginning preparations for another season, Dooling realized he didn’t want to play any longer. “I was talking about it with my wife and with my pastors and all the people that are in my life, and nobody wanted me to retire. Nobody wanted me to retire,” he said. CSNNE.com

Years of repressed emotions came rushing back during this realization. Memories that Dooling had tried to bury were flooding out. "I actually had such a meltdown that I had to get professional help and I ended up in the hospital," said Dooling. "It just all came to a head. To be honest with you, I blocked a lot of things out of my life. I’m a man who’s been abused, sexually, emotionally, mentally. I’ve been abused in my life, and there’s so many guys around the NBA who have been abused and I know it because I’ve been their therapist. I didn’t even have the courage because I blocked it out so much that I couldn’t even share that . . . “It took literally a meltdown for everybody to see how serious I was about not playing ball anymore." CSNNE.com

“It just got to the point where it was like, they don’t know how much pain I’m in. They don’t know how lonely the road can be. They don’t know the stuff that comes along with being an NBA player. They don’t know how many people call my phone begging for money every day. They don’t know how many people call me asking for advice. They don’t know how many people rely on me to be happy when they’re down. They don’t understand the grind that mentally I have to go through to be this man I am every day. “I just gave out too much and I wasn’t getting enough back . . . [With] the exception of the Celtics organization, nobody ever truly appreciated me until this year.” CSNNE.com

“The average career is 4 1/2 years and I tripled that, almost,” Dooling told CSNNE.com as he settled into a brown leather chair at the marble high top table in his dining room, his usual three-piece suit traded for a tailored, buttondown shirt and jeans. “The grind of the NBA just has taken its toll on me, on my body. More so than that, my family . . . I’ve missed birthdays, school conferences, dropping my kids off, school plays, school dances. I’ve missed just being daddy so much. "I have enough. I have all the resources I need, I’m a blessed man. I’m not limping away; I was able to walk away.” CSNNE.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.