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Believing in Beasley?

Heat forward Michael Beasley has already had one promising yet controversial season in the NBA. But in BeasleyDraft many ways, the rest of his career - and life - start today.

Actually, it began again on that day he arrived in Houston to start a rehabilitation program designed to address the demons that have haunted him since the moment he became a basketball prodigy.

What we know is that concerns over drug use and psychological issues led the Heat to push Beasley, the talented 20-year-old forward, into a treatment program of some kind in Houston. Details remain sketchy about how long Beasley (right) has been in treatment and when he'll emerge from the program.

But this latest development has completely altered the course and perception of what already had been a rocky and, at times, outright difficult offseason for the Heat. Until Monday, the Heat's summer has been defined by its inability to bring in quality help to upgrade the roster this offseason.

Suddenly, it's now all about the player Miami has sent away to get his life, health and priorities in order. It's hard to know what's been racing through Beasley's mind during an offseason filled with emotional speed bumps. It's hard to know what may have driven him to the brink of substance abuse. But life came at Beasley fast this offseason.

It started with the birth of his first child, daughter Mikaiya, back in May. At one moment, Beasley talked about how the birth had changed his outlook on things. I spoke to him in June about this very issue and he went as far as to say that he planned to save 75 percent of his salary to put away for his family.

New Beasley In the very next breath, Beasley was as defiant as ever when it came to the maturity issue. He wondered out loud why everyone expected this 20-year-old young man to act like he was 30 or, well, a mature 20.

In July, there was the second snub from USA Basketball execs, who passed over Beasley as they picked out young prospects who will be in line for future Olympic squads. Almost everyone who was anyone in the draft lottery the last three or four years was invited to that Las Vegas training camp tryout. 

Except Michael Paul Beasley, Jr., the No. 2 overall pick in 2008. 

That omission sent Beasley on the rant that led to the disappearance of his first Twitter account. He posted something about being in "kill mode" entering next season as a result of the USA tryout snub.

Then came the trade rumors involving Carlos Boozer, who was to be shipped from Utah to Miami if the Heat were inclined to include Beasley in the deal. Heat president Pat Riley came out and essentially said it wasn't happening. But later in July, there was the Lamar Odom situation.

At one point during the Heat's free agency pursuit of Odom, Beasley was ready and willing to accept a move to Los Angeles if a sign-and-trade could have been worked out after Odom's negotiations with the Lakers broke down. But it never got to that because the Lakers were willing to call Odom's bluff and in no way planned to aid in the Heat's acquisition of the versatile forward.

And then came last week's most recent Twitter episode, when Beasley posted a photo of himself and his new tattoo. In the process, there were two plastic bags in the background that caught the attention and speculation of Internet nation. The notion was that there may or may not have been marijuana in the bags. 

Then came Monday's revelation that Beasley had been out of town for some time and had recently sought treatment for a number of his issues. ESPN's Jay Bilas made an interesting observation when I spoke with him Monday about this Beasley ordeal. He was hoping that we all weren't on the verge of another Chris Washburn situation. Remember him? If so, the similarities probably frighten you a bit.

Like Beasley, Washburn was an incredibly talented big man with perimeter skills and a silky smooth game 25 years ago coming out of high school. Like Beasley, Washburn faced questions about his academic credibility and concerns over his maturity level after repeated off-the-court issues entering college.

Like Beasley, Washburn was a one-season wonder during a breakout year at North Carolina State. Like Beasley, Washburn showed plenty of promise during his rookie NBA season after he was a top-three pick in the 1986 draft. Then the drug issues and concerns kept popping up. Just like Beasley.

As his second NBA season was just taking off, Washburn (right) was forced to check into a drug treatment Washburn facility. A bad situation quickly grew worse. After failing three drug tests in three years, Washburn was banned for life from the NBA in 1989. After only 72 career games, Washburn was an NBA washout.

"Unfortunately, you've seen this type of thing before," Bilas said. "You hope it doesn't get to that point (with Beasley) and he gets the help he needs. But you know these sort of issues and concerns have been brought up before, with a talented player that early in his career."

I'm sure former NBA player, coach and league 12-step program czar John Lucas will probably mention the Washburn story to Beasley - if he hasn't already - during one of their counseling sessions in Houston. Of course, Lucas could tell his own story of overcoming substance abuse to gain his status as one of the NBA's truly great comeback stories.

The good news is that Beasley still has plenty of basketball left ahead of him if he comes back from Houston with his life together. Far more importantly, he's still got plenty of his life ahead of him too if he comes back with a proper gameplan. 

(For live news, notes and updates on the Heat, follow me on Twitter @ twitter.com/wallacesports. To post a question or join our live Heat chat each Thursday from 1-2 p.m., click here.)

Comments

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addition of Q-Rich looking good right about now

When will this prick wake up? Truly disappointed as a Heat fan

"ESPN's Jay Bilas made an interesting observation when I spoke with him Monday about this Beasley ordeal. He was hoping that we all weren't on the verge of another Chris Washburn situation. Remember him? If so, the similarities probably frighten you a bit."

---

I'm all for the tough luv approach to Michael Beasley. The Heat, in my opinion, have done all the right things for Beasley even while Beasley refuses those things for himself.

More bubble-blowing and media *enabling* (see Greg Cote, Ira Winderman, Chris Perkins) is exactly what Beasley does *not* need for Beasley to GET THE PICTURE.

However, as pictures go, Chris Washburn should be out of frame. "Remember him?" Remember? I was there. We were living in the Bay Area when the Warriors drafted Washburn. I saw Washburn play. Beasley, on court, is NOT Chris Washburn. Washburn NEVER showed anything to anyone that he could actually play the NBA game -- even when sober. At least Beasley -- despite personal downside projections as a Zach Randolph, Glenn Robinson, Antawn Jamison clone -- can play.

Just as scary and perhaps more relevant: Eddie Griffin. Remember him? 6-10, 220, 7th pick overall, drafted by New Jersey, traded to Houston, traded to Minnesota. Okay rookie production, lousy rookie teammate (due in part to substance-induced unreliability). Early substance abuse (alcohol), early substance recovery (Houston, Minnesota), early career demise due to VERY EARLY DEATH.

Griffin was killed driving under the influence. He drove his SUV through a crossing barrier headon into a passing train [ http://bit.ly/5hcKx ].

Anyone can get 2nd chances. Several even. But you only get ONE life.

Got THAT Beas?

Michael, and the rest of my fellow Heat fans -- it is time to quit trusting Beasley and to realize that the kid is the wasted pick I knew he would be when we mistakingly drafted him. He knows he doesnt have what it takes to get the minutes on this team and so he turning to drugs for comfort... He will just turn out to be just an average player in this league and he is having trouble realizing that but it is time for some of us fans to open our eyes and realize that this is a fact!

Hang in there B-EZ. Heads are blowing this out of proportion. Achieving success in life is not easy. But, Beasley will find his way.

Well I'm not ready to give up on the kid just yet. I think that at the age of 20 we were all in a different frame of mind. Beas is in a completely different situation than all of us were at that age when we were all thinking about just hitting the clubs, getting the girls, and getting wasted with little or no responsibility at all. He is a millionaire with a huge microscope that is magnified thousands of times more than the average young adult. We all know he has got a world of talent and can be a great basketball player. Lets give him a chance and hope for a healthy recovery. Remember fans, when given the minutes, he was a very productive player.

beasley sucks!

Beasley getting help is the right move. He did the right thing i wish him the best, as should all of you. A focused, happy Beasley would help this Heat team tremendously. Writing him off after one pretty decent rookie year is the dumbest thing i've ever heard. One day Beas is going to prove a lot of people wrong. (i hope) Hes not a d*ck like JR rider or D. Coleman. Hes just a goofy insecure kid who needs to grow up. It would be nice to see D-Wade lend a show of support too. I find it very troubling that Wade as the "leader" of this team has chosen to say NOTHING so far. That speaks volumes. And i don't mean in a good way.

This is a real downer Mike. I hope Beasely can snap back. It will be tough on the kid, but hopefully he will come out of this a stronger, more mature person. If there's anyone who can put this kid back on the road to recovery, it's John Lucas. Mike, let us know from time to time how Beas is doing. Thanks.

I blame the Heat. The way they have mishandled this kid is inexcusable.

I think some of you guys need to calm down...yes this is a rather precarious situation but the more I read about it, the more I think this is more about PR than Beasley's health. I think the kid does have some issues that a good psychiatrist could fix but that's about it. People are saying Beasley is "turning to drugs" but where exactly is the evidence of that? Yes, he's in rehab but he didn't fail any drug tests and has violated no actual rules. He is not being fined or suspended. I think the reputation Beasley had before coming into the league (which may or may not have been justified in the first place) is what's making everyone freak out about the now infamous twitter picture of Beasley. That wasn't even his house, it wasn't his room, and the objects in the room (i.e. mysterious baggies) weren't his. He was getting a tattoo inked on his back in someone else's house and wanted a picture of the new tattoo before he got bandaged up. I'm not saying there definitely is not a problem, there very well could be, but I think we all need to take a deep breath, relax, and wait for all the facts to come in (or at least wait for training camp to begin) so we can see how he performs on the court. Judge the kid by his game, not his lifestyle. I think websites like Twitter are probably giving fans too much access into athlete's lives and there's no way Beasley has done anything worse than what athletes prior to the Internet Age did. Now the Showtime Lakers, those guys knew how to party. It's not like Beasley is Len Bias. Everyone thinks Beasley just smokes too much weed, he isn't going to end up on the front page of the newspaper dead from some kind of marijuana overdose.

People should read all the facts on why Beasley is at the rehab clinic. And why that picture really doesn't prove anything. Beasley and the Heat weren't the ones that scheduled the rehab visit, it was the NBA for the incident that happened lat year. Beasley hasn't failed any drug tests and none of us know what those bags had in them or who they belonged to. People assume they had weed in them because Beasley ended up in rehab soon after and he deleted his twitter account. But he was supposed to go to the clinic regardless and he had deleted another account earlier in the month. His picture was terrible timing and now everyone thinks he's an addict and has mental issues. Truth is everyone feels like life's not worth living at some point or another. He probably felt that way because of the comments people were leaving and because he realized the picture was a mistake and the media would blow it out of proportion.

This is an unfortunate incident but not a knock on the career of Michael Beasley. This kid is going to come out and be a leader this year. We are relying on that. He had a tough year playing limited minutes and needs to know his role on the team and that should be to start and to score. If O'Neal is truly healthy and with the development of the young players and of course D-Wade this team has a chance to win 48 games. Go heat!!! I am counting the days until opening night!!!

Wow. It's a shame the way that many of the so called HEAT Fans are reacting to this story. People we have all done something that we're not proud of. I don't mean to excuse the guy, but at least he's around people that can relate to what he's going through.(John Lucas)I think that he will be more than ready & anticipating the start of this season, because he is going to prove a lot of people wrong. He's going to be more determine,focused, and a BEAST on the floor for our HEAT. I truly wish him the best and so that he can begin to enjoy fatherhood and his life. Beas, little by little man, you have the support of the ENTIRE HEAT NATION.

God Bless!

THIS SUCKS FOR THE FANS!
THIS SUCKS FOR THE ORGANIZATION!
MORE IMPORTANT IT SUCKS FOR B EASLEY!
IF THIS WAS A ALGEBRA PROBLEM.
IT READS 1/3X - SUCKS = THIS REALLY
X= THIS REALLY SUCKS x 3
THE ONLY THING THAT SUCKS MORE IS THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT SUPPORTING THIS YOUNG MAN WHO NEEDS
GUIDANCE.

god bless you michael beasley.

i think this is a good reminder that these guys are regular humans, and go thru the same ups and downs as the rest of us.

i don't know what this means for the heat or michael beasley. but i know that i am rooting for this guy to turn his life around.

a lot of 20-year old kids struggle to find themselves. hell, i was one of them. i didn't get my life figured out until my mid-twenties. and i am sure i've done more drugs than michael beasley. but now, i am 29 and doing great. i hope that 10 years from now, mike beezy can say the same thing.

stop hating on beasley. he had a solid ROOKIE (20 yr old) season. his stats wern'r incredible but he was coming off the bench. look at other rookie seasons from stars in the league like boozer-(10pts 7 reb) or bosh -(11pts 7reb per game), and you will see that statistically beasley is doing fine. For those who think he's a bust don't know much about the NBA and should stop wasting their time commenting on things they don't know about. give the guy a chance

Dear Michael Beasley & Family;

Please know my prayers are with you, and when I was 20 years old, I cannot imagine what the scrutiny and pressures must be like.

From a business stand point, I went from being homeless, to making good money at 24, and my antics were at time immature, to say the least.

What is important, is your new daughter, that you have your whole life ahead of you, and God will always love you, no matter what.

The only thing that worries me is that they mentioned you have been sad, don't allow such a great light not to shine anymore Michael, you are blessed to bless others, in time you will understand this.

Yes, I am a Miami Heat fan, because of D-Wade and Zo, so I want you back as a fan, but do not let those who will write angry words, to touch who you are.

Blessings,

Spoelstra ruined Michael Beasley! I dont blame beasley if he got depressed, you can just imagine what goes on in his head every time Udonis "The Golden Cow" Haslem starts and he sits on the bench. It should be the other way around. Spoesltra doesn even call plays for beasley. Spoelstra you twit stop with the man crush on Haslem and play BEASLEY! Other wise you go back to making christmas videos of the team.

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