Michael Beasley may or may not be a bad guy, but he's proved over the past five years that he can string together bad decisions like a champ.
The latest transgression in an ever-growing list of dopey missteps came on August 6, when police in Scottsdale, Arizona, arrested Beasley for marijuana possession. Lauren Peikoff, a producer with 12 News in Phoenix, posted his mugshot, a site NBA fans have grown used to seeing:
If we were dealing with any other NBA player, this arrest probably wouldn't elicit more than a day or two of news coverage. And viewed in isolation, it wouldn't seem like the end of the world. But because of Beasley's remarkably poor track record, his most recent arrest is not only somewhat sad, but also pretty alarming.
That's because Beasley seems intent on continuing a downward spiral that could very well result in him washing out of the NBA.
Here's a rundown of how Beasley has sabotaged a once-promising career.
June 26, 2008: Red Flags from the Start
Beasley was named the Big 12 Player of the Year in his lone season at Kansas State. He averaged 26.2 points and 12.4 rebounds while showcasing a ridiculous amount of offensive skill for a forward. Derrick Rose was the surefire No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, but Beasley was hardly a consolation prize when the Miami Heat snagged him at No. 2.
Even at that early juncture, there were concerns about Beasley's character.
According to Draft Express' player profile, the 6'10" forward's weaknesses included "attitude, focus and off-court red flags."
Maybe that had something to do with the fact that he attended six high schools in five different states. Or perhaps it was his unseemly entanglement with an AAU pseudo-agent (more on that later).
Either way, there were signs that Beasley might struggle to walk the grown-up line of life in the NBA from the moment he joined the professional ranks.
But nobody suspected he'd screw up as quickly as he did.
September 3, 2008: The Symposium Incident
Apparently not one to waste time, Beasley ran afoul of NBA policy at the first official opportunity to do so. According to Zach Harper of CBS Sports, Beasley was fined $50,000 for his involvement in an incident at the 2008 Rookie Transition Program in which he, Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur violated program policy by having women in the room.
Hotel workers also detected the odor of marijuana and were only there in the first place because the smoke alarm went off at approximately 2 a.m.
It should be mentioned that Beasley actually sneaked out of the room, leaving Chalmers and Arthur to take the rap. He was later forced by Heat president Pat Riley to admit his role in the affair.
To summarize: Beasley broke the rules at the NBA's official seminar on how not to break the rules. Clearly, things weren't headed in the right direction.
August 24, 2009: Twitter, Rehab and a Boat
The NBA deliberately keeps the details of things like this under wraps, but at some point during the summer of 2009, Beasley was required to participate in the league's drug program. On August 24, 2009, his status at a rehabilitation facility shifted from outpatient to inpatient, indicating he'd broken one of the program's rules (per ESPN).
It's not hard to figure out how he broke those rules. During the weeks leading up to the story about his rehab stint, Beasley had been active on the social media front in the worst way possible.
The actual tweets have since been deleted, but the Los Angeles Times reprinted the ones that stirred up concern for Beasley's mental health. They included:
Y do I feel like the whole world is against me!!!!!!! Back on my FTW!!!!! I Can't win for losin!!!!!!!!!
Feelin like it's not worth livin!!!!!!! I'm done
not feelin this at all!!!!!
Those posts—combined with an unrelated photo from Beasley that featured a baggie of what looked an awful lot like marijuana in the background—didn't help.
Neither did an image of him passed out on a boat surrounded by empty bottles. It's possible he was just worn out after a tough workout. I mean, he does have what appear to be his game shorts on.
With just one actual season of NBA basketball under his belt, Beasley had already fashioned a pretty nasty reputation for himself.
July 12, 2010: Change of Scenery
You hear it all the time: A change of scenery could make a big difference for (insert player's name here). Well, in this case, the Minnesota Timberwolves were banking on a new environment bringing the best out of Beasley.
They traded for him on July 12, 2010.
Then-president David Kahn was remarkably candid in his comments on Beasley. In a radio interview with 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, he said of his team's new acquisition:
He's a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he's not smoking anymore. And I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case. ... The issue is, will they learn from their mistakes? Will they grow from them? In Michael's case, there's no evidence yet to suggest he won't.
A couple of things became clear rather quickly when Beasley joined the Wolves: 1) Kahn clearly had no understanding of what the word "evidence" meant, and 2) the only thing that changed about Beasley was his hair.
Also, this happened:
To be fair, though, it took a full 11 months before the troubled forward got himself into trouble with the law again.
June 26, 2011: Here We Go Again
According to the Associated Press, police stopped Beasley at 3 a.m. on June 26, 2011 for speeding (84 mph in a 65 mph zone—not a great idea, but nothing most of us haven't also done) and discovered 16.2 grams of marijuana under the front passenger seat. (OK, that's a problem.)
Because of the ongoing lockout, the NBA's anti-drug policies weren't in effect at the time, so Beasley skated without facing any league-imposed discipline.
So ended the longest incident-free period of Beasley's NBA career.
Get ready; the string of bad behavior picks up some real steam over the next few months.
August 4, 2011: "Face-Push-Gate"
Proving that his immaturity was not confined to the NBA, Beasley got into hot water for shoving a fan in the face during an exhibition game at Dyckman Park in New York.
According to Stefan Bondy and Daniel O'Leary of the New York Daily News, a fan had been heckling Beasley throughout the game, which resulted in the following ugly confrontation.
Not a good look, B-Easy. Not a good look at all.
October 26, 2011: Some Ugly History
In yet another messy lockout story, Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda of the Washington Post reported on Oct. 26, 2011 that Beasley had filed a lawsuit against his former agent, Joe Bell.
According to the suit, Beasley claimed that Bell and Curtis Malone, a former AAU coach Beasley had known since he was in junior high. He'd given gifts and money to Beasley and his family for years with the understanding that when Beasley made the pros, he'd hire Bell as his agent.
Well, Beasley did hire Bell but apparently never paid him, which is why Bell sued Beasley in the first place. Beasley's countersuit—the one that was the basis for the Washington Post's report—dredged up a bunch of sordid details on the impropriety of Beasley's youth as an AAU phenom.
Basically, it verified everyone's worst fears about how corrupt the AAU landscape could be, and Beasley put himself right in the middle of that ugly picture.
December 10, 2012: "Toxic"
Beasley joined the Phoenix Suns after signing a three-year, $18 million deal on July 20, 2012. Almost universally, NBA pundits questioned the wisdom of a three-year commitment to a player as volatile as Beasley, but Phoenix was taken by the still-dormant potential of the former No. 2 overall pick.
It took less than six months for the Suns to realize they had made a huge mistake.
No "major shakeup" followed, but Beasley's role dwindled as the year progressed, and he wasn't through with his legal troubles either.
January 25, 2013: More of the Same
Yet again, a traffic stop in the wee hours yielded a slap on the wrist and more damage to Beasley's reputation. According to ArizonaSports.com, Scottsdale police stopped Beasley for driving 71 mph in a 45 mph zone at 1:10 a.m. on January 25.
His vehicle had no plates or registration, and police found a loaded gun in the backseat's center console. Because the Suns forward was "cooperative," officers impounded the car and let Beasley walk with only a citation.
So now that we've chronicled all of Beasley's transgressions, the question is: Will he ever get his act together?
I suppose there's always room for optimism, and maybe the fact that he's still just 24 years old should weigh in his favor. But the truth is that we've now seen nothing but failed reformations and an alarming recurrence of the same behavior for too long to expect a change.
Beasley's not a monster; he's just making stupid mistakes over and over again.
If he's not careful, his next gaffe could be the one that winds up costing him his career.