In 2003, the New York Knicks appeared to have landed an absolute gem in big man Michael Sweetney. An All-American power forward for the Georgetown Hoyas, Sweetney had all of the potential in the world.
12 years later, Sweetney is back in basketball—The Basketball Tournament, to be specific.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Sweetney will be in New York for the $1 million tournament on ESPN. The tournament has featured a number of familiar faces, including fellow former Knick Nate Robinson.
This is a major step in Sweetney’s life after battling undiagnosed clinical depression.
"Sweetney told The Post his NBA career was derailed because of a long and undiagnosed bout with clinical depression, causing him to eat too much and not take care of his body.The 32-year-old only recently got professional help when he received the diagnosis. His weight still is at 320 pounds and he will wear a size 5XL jersey when he mans the post Saturday for the Baltimore-based “City of Gods’’"
If nothing else, it’ll be interesting and inspiring to see Sweetney back on the court.
Formerly a collegiate star, Sweetney never got his feet under him in the NBA. He was out of the association by 2007 and battled weight issues for most of his life during that period and thereafter.
A major reason for Sweetney’s NBA inconsistency was the traumatizing event of his father’s death, which he states he never truly recovered from.
"Sweetney had often talked about the funk he was in during his rookie year, with his father dying just one month after former Knicks general manager Scott Layden pulled the trigger on the rebounding, low-post scorer from Georgetown. Sweetney now realizes he never pulled out of his malaise.“I don’t think I was honest back then, but I’m now open to be able to say everything that happened was my fault and I own up to it,’’ the 6-foot-8 Sweetney said. “I was in a bad depression, didn’t eat right or work out enough and I ate myself out of the league. I’ve just owned up recently to the problems of depression. I think I was in depression mode for years and I didn’t get proper help. I was in denial.’’"
The truth can be an eye-opening thing.
Sweetney has been the end of many a joke, but learning his story puts things into perspective. Rather than crucifying Sweetney for his shortcomings in the NBA, his story should be studied and understood.
He’s far from the only person—NBA player or otherwise—who has struggled to overcome the death of a loved one.
At The Basketball Tournament, Sweetney will be competing for a $1 million prize. He’ll team with the likes of Pops Mensah-Bonsu, DerMarr Johnson, Xavier Silas and Roscoe Smith on, “Team City of Gods”—a squad based out of Baltimore, Maryland.
Per the official The Basketball Tournament website, they’ll battle Overseas Elite—a team consisting of the likes of Travis Bader, Myck Kabongo and former St. John’s Red Storm star D.J. Kennedy—in the semifinals.
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