- (Photograph: Twitter/Keyon Dooling)
Keyon Dooling may have shocked some when he decided to retire after only half of a season with the Boston Celtics and 12 years in the NBA, but the guard is revealing that he has had to deal with a stint in a mental hospital and overcoming childhood molestation before redefining his position in the league.
Dooling, 32, recently opened up in an NBA.com report where he and wife Natosha spoke about overcoming a childhood molestation that he tried to block out, but seemed to re-appear in the form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Natosha described praying for her husband when he began to act unlike himself.
"I didn't know what it was, but I knew it wasn't good. Just weird stuff that he would say, or do," Dooling's wife who knew the former pro basketball player since he was 15 said. "I was just like, 'Hmm, what's going on? Is he OK?' I even called his momma at one point, but she really couldn't give me any answers. Actually, I just stayed on my knees. I was just praying. That's all I know to do, just go before the Lord."
Dooling eventually had a breakdown which led to a week-long stint in a mental hospital. The retired NBA guard described the ordeal as hell on earth.
"It was like hell. If you're not a person that needs to be in a mental institution, it's no place for you," Dooling said in an NBA.com report. "In my opinion, if that's hell here on earth, I don't want to see it in the next life."
Dooling described having to overcome hallucinations, and his experience with childhood molestation.
"It started when I was five, and it happened multiple times. It happened with men and women. I was abused by my brother's friend," Dooling described to NBA.com "I was five; he was about 13 or 14. But also young ladies, older ladies in our neighborhood.... I didn't even realize the pattern of behavior I had taken on at such an early age."
While the former NBA guard is now in therapy with his wife, on medication and dealing with his past, he also has a bright future to look toward. Dooling is now serving as player development coordinator for the Boston Celtics, and looking to God to get him through life.
He said he is ready to stop living for other people and live for himself, his family and God's purpose.
"..I can be a blessing to many people as I go along, but I cannot be an enabler, not only for the people in my community, or my NBA friends who might rely on me for that comfort or that advice," Dooling told NBA.com "I have to really focus on what God put me here to do."