"I just took a bunch of pain pills, hoping it would take me out."
Former New York Knicks first round draft pick Michael Sweetney revealed to HoopsHype's Alex Kennedy that he tried to commit suicide during his rookie year back in 2003 after battling serious depression.
Sweetney explained to Kennedy,
“I remember the night,” Sweetney told HoopsHype. “We were in Cleveland one night and I just took a bunch of pain pills, hoping it would take me out. But I woke up the next morning thinking, ‘Well, it didn’t work.’ That’s how bad it was."
The Knicks used the 9th overall pick in the '03 draft on the former Georgetown big man, but after his father died right before the start of training camp he fell into a deep depression and was out of the league by 2007.
Sweetney added, per HoopsHype,
“I didn’t like basketball and I just didn’t like life at the time. I went from being a star at Georgetown and having my father at every game, to losing him and not even playing in the NBA. I knew I wasn’t going to be given a chance as a rookie because my coach told me, ‘Hey, I’m not going to play you.’ I had a lot of things going on that were rough for me to handle. I had dug myself into a really deep depression and, at that point, I was really scared to tell anybody. At that time, you had a guy like Ron Artest and people would just say, ‘He’s crazy.’ In reality, he just had some issues that could be resolved. But people were quick to call him crazy and I was suffering from something similar, so I didn’t want to tell anyone. Even after I tried to commit suicide, nobody really knew. I was suffering really bad. I was in New York, battling this while the media was writing articles about me, and I felt like I had nowhere to go. I just kept digging myself into a deeper hole of depression.”
“I left the NBA in 2007, so around 2008 is when things got really bad and my wife told me that I really needed to get some help. It was to the point that I had moved out of my house, left my family and I was sleeping in parks or cars,” Sweetney said.
“I felt like a failure. I just didn’t want to be around anybody and I felt terrible. Then, in 2009, that’s when I got to a point where things started heading in a better direction. I knew I had to pull myself out of that and get myself together. It took some time, but my family and friends had my back and helped me get through those really tough times.”
Sweetney now speaks with kids who are dealing with issues he has faced, and is currently preparing for the upcoming Big3 League season where he'll be playing for Allen Iverson's "3's Company" squad alongside DerMarr Johnson, Andre Owens and Ruben Patterson.
You can check out the full story about his battle with depression and post-NBA life right here.