I'll start off by saying what Michael Beasley is going through is probably no joke. Unlike some health problems, mental issues just can't be cured by throwing money at the problem (insert your own Magic Johnson quote here), and fame and fortune is no guarantee for a happy life.
That being said, I'm having a difficult time feeling more than a little bit of sorrow for Beasley.
Before you call me cold-blooded, perhaps you should read some of the comments made by his father, Michael Beasley Sr., on the radio, as printed on Deadspin.
"He talks about how it's a job now. In college there wasn't a lot of pressure on him so he could go out and play, but now he's got high expectations and it's work now. I think that became kind of stressful for him going from playing 30 games to 82 games and the playoffs, and it probably took a toll on him."
Here's where my sympathy really starts to wane.
No one put a gun to Michael Beasley's head and forced him to leave college after only one year.
It's kind of a consensus that Beasley has had maturity issues, and his father states above that he's having trouble dealing with the pressure and toll of an NBA season.
Last I checked, the NBA has had an 82-game schedule for several decades. When he made the decision to bolt college, he did so full well knowing what the schedule is, and I'm assuming he was hoping his team would get to the playoffs.
The quote "he talks about how it's a job now" really gets me.
Of course it's a job! You get paid now! That's the very definition of a job. There wasn't a lot of pressure on him in college because he wasn't being paid millions of dollars, nor did he have a city looking to him to produce wins.
But guess what? I'm sure Beasley knew all of that before deciding to leave college.
But I'm also sure that all he really saw was the chance to get a fat paycheck and the adoration that comes with being a professional athlete, and he figured the rest would sort itself out.
Well, life just doesn't sort itself out. You have to be able to make an educated decision when it comes to things like that. Otherwise, you don't jump into the world of professional sports before you can legally drink.
The thing that bothers me about this is that people seem perfectly willing to accept that Beasley is nothing more than a victim in all this.
He is the one who willingly chose to leave the relatively green fields of college ball and jump headfirst into the pressure-packed waters of professional basketball.
Is he a victim? Sure.
But he's also at fault—maybe a lot, maybe a little.
His decisions brought him into the situation, and if he was having these problems as far back as a year ago, then it was up to him to get things figured out before even more pressure (which he must have known would come).
I know he's only 20, and I know that 20-year-olds do stupid stuff. But there's doing stupid stuff, and then there's allowing yourself into situations where things can turn against you.
That's what Michael Beasley did.
I'm hoping he puts this all behind him and becomes a great NBA player. He was a blast to watch in college, and he definitely had his moments last year.
Even with this little detour, he could still be a very good NBA player, and I hope he is.
But hopefully he learns from this whole thing, and I'm not so sure he will. He doesn't seem to have learned common sense in his first 20 years.
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