Michael Sweetney was a heralded NBA Draft prospect coming out of Georgetown back in 2003. He had just finished up a junior season with the Hoyas that saw him average 22.8 points and 10.4 rebounds. Many expected Sweetney to go in the top 10, which ended up happening when the New York Knicks selected him No. 9 overall.
Unfortunately for the forward, his NBA career did not go according to plan. He played just four seasons in the NBA (two with New York), averaging 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per outing.
Now, more than a decade after his career came to an end, Sweetney is opening up about depression issues that led to an attempted suicide when he was a rookie back in 2003.
“Sweetney was in a very dark place. He was mourning since his father, Samuel, died just before the start of New York’s training camp and he was also battling serious depression,” Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype noted. “After struggling to find peace and refusing to ask for help out of fear of being judged, he attempted suicide.”
For his part, Sweetney detailed the suicide attempt and just how dark of a place he was in at that time.
“I remember the night,” Sweetney said. “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.”
This is definitely an important story. No matter how successful one is in life, depression itself can take over in a minute. It’s something that has largely been pushed under the rug in American society. Stories like what Sweetney has to tell here are important. And that’s why he decided to open up so many years after the fact.
“I just really wanted to make my story into a positive,” Sweetney said. “When I go talk to kids, I use my life as an example. I tell them, ‘Google my name. All you’re going to see is a bunch of fat jokes and bad stuff about me. You won’t find anything positive.’ A lot of these kids get cyberbullied, so I try to use myself as an example to help them get through it.”
It sure is a sobering story, one that could help others overcome the destruction that depression itself might bring. For that, we applaud Sweetney in opening up.