Ex-Net Keyon Dooling speaks out about abuse

Keyon Dooling New Jersey Nets
(AP/Bill Kostroun)

Keyon Dooling New Jersey Nets
(AP/Bill Kostroun)
Keyon Dooling played for the then-New Jersey Nets for two tumultuous seasons between 2008 and 2010 and didn’t leave an indelible mark on the franchise. He was known as the team’s fashion mogul, a respected veteran that others admired, and a solid backup point guard, but little else. What we didn’t know then is what Dooling has come forward with in recent weeks: he wasn’t happy, and though he thought he had something left, he wanted to walk away from the sport.

Keyon Dooling had been molested as a child, and hadn’t felt that he’d reached his capabilities as a basketball player or as a man. Most recently, Dooling sat down with Star-Ledger columnist Dave D’Alessandro to talk not about the past, but about the future: how he can help other survivors deal with their trauma in a constructive way.

I couldn’t, and won’t, put myself in Dooling’s shoes, as I was lucky enough not to have gone through that type of pain. I can only imagine how much it’s haunted him in his lifetime, and that as hard as it is to face in public, he knows he’s doing the right thing. There’s a bravery and honesty there that’s impossible not to respect.

From the D’Alessandro piece:

If you express shock at the torment he has carried for 27 years — and the post-traumatic stress that triggered the meltdown in August — Dooling responds like this: “But I’m grateful it happened, my man — because now I have to deal with it, and now I know it’s my time to help others deal with it.”

He was driving down from Boston on Friday morning as we spoke, heading toward John Jay College in Manhattan, where they were holding the annual International MaleSurvivor Conference. Joe Ehrmann, the former Colts tackle from the ’70s — also a minister and abuse survivor — was to deliver the keynote.

Dooling wasn’t sure which part of the symposium he’d address, and he knows the details of his story are excruciating — just Google his appearance on the Katie Couric show last week — but he feels obligated to share it.

This is his reason:

“I always felt destined to do something important,” he said. “My basketball career wasn’t the one I wanted to have — I was a lottery pick, I had great potential, but I didn’t necessarily reach the level I wanted to as a ballplayer.

“But this is a time when I must maximize my potential as a man and as a human being. I know that now.”

Story’s linked below. Do yourself and Keyon Dooling a favor and read it.

Read more: Star-Ledger — Once Keyon Dooling let his secret go, it set him free to help others