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January 21, 2020

Phil Martelli, Jameer Nelson seek help for Delonte West after unsettling videos surface

Former St. Joseph's University basketball coach Phil Martelli and standout guard Jameer Nelson are seeking support for Delonte West in the wake of videos showing the fallen Hawks star in handcuffs on Monday.

West, 36, was seen talking to police in Washington, D.C. and appeared to be in a fragile mental state. In the video, West claimed he was approached by a man with a gun. The incident apparently resulted in an altercation that led to his questioning, though it's unclear whether he was charged with a crime. 

A second video showed West being pummeled in the middle of the street. 

West, a Maryland native and a father of two, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008.

At St. Joe's, West was a star on the undefeated 2003-04 team that advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament. He spent eight seasons in the NBA, where he publicly dealt with his illness and had several off-court incidents during his career. He was released by the Dallas Mavericks during the 2012-13 season.

Martelli, now an assistant coach for the Michigan Wolverines, responded on Twitter to a powerful statement tweeted by Nelson, West's former teammate on Hawk Hill. Martelli said he has reached out to his basketball network to help secure professional help for West.

"I'm not sure what exactly is going on with Dwest but he knows I'm in his corner and will help him get through this," Nelson wrote. "Yes, I've spoken to him over the past several months, just trying to be there for him as a friend. One thing I do know is, if (you're) having mental, emotional or physical setbacks in life, you need to talk to somebody. And when I say talk to somebody, I mean like a doctor or doctors." 

In recent years, there have been apparent warning signs that West was not doing well. After continuing his basketball career in China, the NBA's developmental league and Venezuela, West stopped playing professionally in 2015. He's since been seen in Los Angeles, appearing in photos and videos that suggest he may have been homeless. 

Former NBA star Ron Artest also has been public about his struggles with bipolar disorder and how therapy has helped him successfully manage his mental health. Other NBA players, including Kevin Love and DeMar DeRozen, have opened up in recent years about struggles with anxiety and depression. 

Supporters of West voiced their concern for his well-being and expressed hope that he receives the support he needs.