Delonte West: Mavericks Guard's Hardships Prove NBA Lifestyle Isn't Always Easy

Nicholas GossCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 16:  Delonte West #13 of the Dallas Mavericks goes up for a shot against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 16, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers won 73-70.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The lifestyle of NBA stars is portrayed as an easy life of money, women, clubs, cars and other luxuries. But for Dallas Mavericks guard Delonte West, being a professional basketball player isn't a walk in the park.

West suffers from bipolar disorder, which can severely alter his moods, and has also had other personal and legal issues. But through it all, he has persevered to become a fine basketball player throughout his career.

As hard as it might be to believe, West was even homeless this season.

Delonte West is quite possibly the first active NBA player to be without a home during a season. The Mavericks guard tells the Dallas Morning News that after arriving in the Lone Star State he couldn't find a place to stay, so he spent nights sleeping in the Mavs locker room and even in his car.

West tried to find an apartment near or around the Dallas area, but high prices in addition to his poor legal history prevented him from finding a suitable living space. 

Being without a place to live is one of the recent events on a long list of hardships, both on and off the court, in West's career.

Three years ago, he was arrested in Maryland when police found three guns in a guitar case that West had with him while riding a motorcycle. He was fortunate to escape any jail time, but it was another stumbling block in his career.

Despite all the troubles that West has endured, he has still found the strength to be an important player on several NBA teams. He's played for the Boston Celtics at two different points in his career and was an important role player during each stay. With the Cleveland Cavaliers, West was a reliable scorer and tough defender against some of the league's talented teams.

West has made over $10 million thus far as an NBA player, but lawyer representation, divorce fees and other expenses have left him with little money.

Despite making more than $14 million in a career that began in 2004, West has lost just about everything. During the NBA's labor dispute, he took a job at a Maryland furniture store.

West had to sell vehicles, jewelry and "just about everything I own, except for my house and the clothes on my back," he told the Dallas Morning News.

West has played in 29 games for the Mavericks this season and has averaged just over eight points per game. He's been a fine addition to the Mavericks and always treats his opponents and teammates with respect on the court.

MIAMI, FL - MAY 03:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat talks with Delonte West #13 of  the Boston Celtics during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 3, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO US
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West's perseverance through all of the difficult circumstances he's had to deal with is truly admirable, and I hope he can continue to receive the treatment needed to help him cope with his bipolar disorder. 

Guys like West are people you want to cheer for, because through all the trials and tribulations, they still find a way to work hard and earn their stripes. 

It's a marvel that West has been able to be such a quality player through all of the off-court incidents that have tied him down. 

As fans, we forget that NBA players, though many of them make a lot of money, still struggle through many of the same issues that everyday people do.