Former NBA player Darius Miles answers 'what the hell happened' and it's a lot

Cassandra Negley
Darius Miles opened up about depression in the Player’s Tribune. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Darius Miles opened up about depression in the Player’s Tribune. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)

Darius Miles teamed up once again with best friend and former Los Angeles Clippers teammate Quentin Richardson to answer one question everyone asks: What the hell happened to Darius Miles?

“Dudes like me ain’t supposed to talk about this type of stuff,” Miles wrote to open his 6,500 word essay edited by Richardson in the Players’ Tribune. “I’m about to tell you some real s–t.”

Miles, 37, said he suffered depression after his mother died, shortly after he left the NBA. The young star was drafted straight out of high school by the Clippers with the third pick in the 2000 NBA draft and retired in 2009 at the age of 27 with knee issues. He played with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies but filed for bankruptcy in 2016.

Miles answers a multitude of questions along the way, including ones fans didn’t know they had, before getting to the crux of the piece.

Miles’ mother’s death ‘broke’ him

Basketball was an escape for the man who grew up on the dangerous streets of East St. Louis, Illinois. And his mother, Ethel, was his everything, the one who had his back. So when they both left him, he fell into a deep depression.

His professional career was over just as many other non-athlete’s careers his age are just beginning. A few years later Ethel lost her third battle with cancer.

“When she died, I ain’t gonna lie, it broke me,” he wrote.

Miles said instead of cleaning out her house after the funeral, he stayed and didn’t leave for three years despite working his entire life to get out. He didn’t answer outreach from anyone, including Richardson, and became nocturnal and paranoid. He was losing money to shady business deals and carried his gun at all times.

“The worst part was that I had people who owed me a lot of money, and I just got to a point where I was seeing red, for real,” he wrote. “I felt like I was gonna hurt somebody, or I was gonna wind up in jail.”

Miles said he knows “dudes like me aren’t supposed to talk about depression,” but if people like him were struggling with it, anyone could.

One night after years of feeling trapped he called Richardson in Florida and drove 14 hours straight in a U-Haul to move in down the street. Now he can sleep at night, doesn’t have to carry a gun and tries to get better every day.

What happened at Alonzo Mourning’s house in 2000?

Miles survived life in East St. Louis, even when someone put a gun to his head while he was playing basketball in the street. Then an 18-year-old Miles and 19-year-old Richardson were invited to Zo’s Summer Groove, a party at Alonzo Mourning’s place.

After a bout of adult chicken pox, Miles joined Richardson on some Jet Skis and accidentally hit the edge of a boat. He flipped into the air as if he were in “The Matrix,” Richardson said.

And I can just see the newspapers flashing in my mind, like, NBA ROOKIE DIES IN DAMN JET SKI ACCIDENT IN SOUTH BEACH.

Miles then had a scare with seaweed, calling for help from Richardson to come get him.

How did Miles and Richardson sign with Jordan Brand so young?

Miles and Richardson were clothed head to toe in free And1 apparel the company was sending after the draft when a concerned Michael Jordan approached them during his camp. More like a disappointed pops, in the young players’ minds.

Jordan asked if they wanted to be wearing Nike, which, of course they did.

MJ turns around, super cool, and he just goes, “Alright, I got you.”

Two days later, their agent called surprised there were contracts from Jordan Brand and that was that. The entire family had Js.

What was the two taps to the head?

No, it wasn’t a gang sign or a signal for aliens to arrive. It all stemmed from Miles being too young to do adult things, like hit night clubs, so the two frequented Westchester High basketball games in Los Angeles.

Players at Westchester would throw up their fists after a 3-pointer, so as a shoutout to them Miles and Richardson did the two taps one night.

Cue Richardson:

We started a movement, all because D was trying to mess around and go to prom.

Donald Sterling and Shaquille O’Neal also make cameos in Miles’ wild story from the streets to the NBA to the palm trees in Florida.

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