Whatever the truth is with Michael Beasley, whatever he’s in a clinic for and wherever it goes from here, one thing is certain: His story gets told differently now.
He’s not just 20. He’s not just childish. He’s not just some NBA rookie who needs to mature a bit, as was said by a lot of people last season who weren’t watching very hard what was going on around the Heat.
Beasley needs some help, evidently. He’s getting it, hopefully. And this needs to be said, right up high in the Beasley story today: If he indeed gets that help, this becomes a good story for saving him and the Heat from a lot of issues they don’t want to consider right now.
One photo sent out on Beasley’s Twitter account — a strange tattoo stretched across his back and a suspicious baggie in the background — began to change the way he was viewed.
What completed the change, however, was a friend confirming he was in rehab for some sort of counseling. If you ever wondered whether Beasley was surrounding himself with the wrong people, that pretty much cinches it, right?
You can bet athletes go into some sort of rehab every year. You don’t hear about them for a good reason: It’s their personal business. If they want to talk about it, fine. But who really needs to know besides perhaps his employer?
So now a story is out there running around the Internet about Beasley checking into rehab for some sort of issue. No one knows anything else. Everyone can fill in the blanks however they want, just as they filled the baggie in the photo with marijuana.
Maybe it was marijuana. Maybe not. Maybe he sent the photo from a rehab center in Houston where he’s in a 30-day stay being treated for depression. Again, maybe not.
Here’s the point: There’s a lot of maybes out there to come to any sweeping conclusion about what’s going on with Beasley, much less how it affects his basketball career.
The only certainty is the prism through which you view Beasley’s changes. He was fined $50,000 for allegedly being in a room with women and marijuana during an NBA rookie symposium on good judgment. He racked up a surprising number of fines for breaking team rules, too. Alonzo Mourning was appointed his counselor at season’s end.
Now this. Whatever it is. Topic A for the Heat last year was why Beasley wasn’t fast-tracked. Fans who weren’t at practices, weren’t in huddles and didn’t see him do anything more than putting the ball in the hoop said the team was holding him back.
It’s pretty clear the Heat saw the kind of behavior that couldn’t be seen from the upper deck. It’s pretty clear, too, it was asking him to improve on the court before the full adoration of an NBA life swept him downstream even further.
All summer long, as the roster stayed the same, the consolation for Heat fans was knowing Beasley should be improved in his second season. It’s what everyone rooted for. Now you’re rooting for something else with Beasley.
You’re rooting he’s OK. You’re rooting for a good ending to all of this, whatever it exactly is. All anyone knows for sure is the previous story of a goofy, 20-year-old kid who just needs to grow up gets told a lot differently now.