MIAMI | Michael Beasley said that an offseason stay in a rehabilitation facility was his “lowest hour,” denied that he has a substance abuse problem and apologized Friday to the Miami Heat organization.
Beasley would not reveal any specific details of the treatment he received in Houston, other than acknowledging that he became “pretty upset” upon learning his stay would be considerably longer than first planned. That anger, he said, sparked a wave of troubling messages posted on his now-closed Twitter feed.
“Being locked down for as long as I was gave me a chance to really get my life organized and get back in touch with myself,” Beasley said. “I think over this past year, I’ve got caught up in the NBA life, as most of us do. I think this gave me the perfect opportunity to just sit down and evaluate my life and get the good separated from the bad.”
In a 17-minute session with three reporters, Beasley was asked if has a substance abuse issue. “No, sir,” was the response.
He also does not expect to face further NBA sanction, though acknowledged that he expects any further violations of the league’s substance abuse program would bring a suspension.
Beasley said he was able to spend between 60 and 90 minutes daily working out at the rehab facility. The Heat shuttled many staff members to Houston to work with Beasley daily, including head coach Erik Spoelstra, who personally saw the second-year forward three times.
“In my worst hour, in my lowest hour, to know that my team and my organization backed me up 100 percent, it gives you comfort,” Beasley said. “It gave me confidence in myself that I might have lost and that might not have been there first. It’s just making me feel a whole lot better as a player and a person.”
Beasley returned to South Florida last weekend and resumed workouts with teammates Monday. The team opens training camp officially next Tuesday and is expecting plenty from Beasley, Miami’s second-leading scorer a year ago behind Dwyane Wade.
Wade has offered his support to Beasley often throughout this process, doing so again Friday.
“He understands what he did, that just wasn’t the right thing to do,” Wade said. “As a young kid, he’s only 20 years old. He understands that he’s in the limelight like he didn’t even know. It’s not just Michael Beasley he has to think about. It’s the Miami Heat.”
Details of Beasley’s rehab saga came to light Aug. 21, when a photo of the No. 2 pick in the 2008 NBA draft was posted to his Twitter account. In the image, Beasley is showing a new tattoo across his shoulders. The photo also showed what appeared to be a small plastic bag on an adjacent table, the contents of which were unclear.
Beasley said he did not know the full story behind the now-infamous photo.
“I didn’t know what was in the picture,” Beasley said. “Had I have known, the picture wouldn’t have gone up. I saw the picture. I tried to analyze the picture myself. I couldn’t tell what was in it. To this day, I don’t know what was in it. But it wasn’t mine. That was just me not being aware of my surroundings. I have to get better than that.”
That was around the time Beasley found out his rehab stay would last another month. Angrily, he posted comments like “Feelin like it’s not worth livin!!!!!!! I’m done” and “I feel like the whole world is against me I can’t win for losin” on Twitter.
His account was closed shortly afterward, and Beasley said it’ll stay that way.
“I can definitely say, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, any social network I’m pretty much done with,” Beasley said. “I put my career and my livelihood in jeopardy. That’s something I worked day in and day out, hour after hour, for basically my whole life for. And to lose it over some Internet social network, garbage network, it’s not smart at all.”
Beasley said often last season that he was “just a kid,” almost using that as a crutch to justify some less-than-mature situations he found himself in. He was fined $50,000 by the NBA last September after security officers at the league’s rookie symposium detected the scent of marijuana in a hotel room that he was in.
Through this process, Beasley says he’s vowing to be more accountable in his second season.
“That chapter is behind,” Beasley said. “Later for the immaturity. Later for me blaming it on my age. I’ve come to realize I’m a professional, no matter if I’m 38, no matter if I’m 19 or 20. I’m a professional.”