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Dooling Shockwaves

Posted by paul on September 27, 2012 at 11:05 PM

In a very personal and intense article, Keyon Dooling talks to Camerato about why he chose to retire.  

Then, after re-signing with the Celtics in July and beginning preparations for another season, Dooling realized he didn’t want to play any longer.

“I was talking about it with my wife and with my pastors and all the people that are in my life, and nobody wanted me to retire. Nobody wanted me to retire,” he said.

Years of repressed emotions came rushing back during this realization. Memories that Dooling had tried to bury were flooding out.

"I actually had such a meltdown that I had to get professional help and I ended up in the hospital," said Dooling.

"It just all came to a head. To be honest with you, I blocked a lot of things out of my life. I’m a man who’s been abused, sexually, emotionally, mentally. I’ve been abused in my life, and there’s so many guys around the NBA who have been abused and I know it because I’ve been their therapist. I didn’t even have the courage because I blocked it out so much that I couldn’t even share that . . .

“It took literally a meltdown for everybody to see how serious I was about not playing ball anymore."

 I hope Dooling realizes that the shock his retirement caused was a huge compliment to him and to what he came to mean for the Celtics and for Celtics fans in just one year.   When has the retirement of the 15th man on a team ever created such shock waves?

“I just gave out too much and I wasn’t getting enough back . . . [With] the exception of the Celtics organization, nobody ever truly appreciated me until this year.”

Celtics fans appreciated you a lot, Keyon.  We saw the intense way you played in the playoffs.  We saw the way you helped Rajon Rondo ride a rocky rode in a rocky rodeo.   We heard Brandon Bass praising your halftime inspiration speech.  We saw Ainge's decision to sign you as a sign that this team was serious about a championship.

 After reading yet another article today from an 'expert' claiming to prove that Rondo cannot seriously be considered even the Celtics' best player ...

Rondo, who is the subject of a fantastic profile put together by Yahoo! Sports' Marc J. Spears on Wednesday, is being counted on to stir the drink once again as the Celtics attempt to get past Miami and back into their third Finals appearance in six years. And he's best-suited for that role, says team architect Danny Ainge, because he's the team's best player.

Wait … what?

... it is refreshing to read these strong words from Keyon:

“Rondo is my friend. I want my son to play ball like Rondo but shoot like me. That’s my brother. It pisses me off to see the way the media treats him because he’s strong. They’re scared of strength and he’s honest. It’s okay to be strong. What’s wrong with that man being strong? He’s earned his right. He’s come from nothing, he’s come from nothing. He’s the second-best player in the league. He didn’t make the USA Team, sometimes he’s a replacement for the All-Star Game. He’s the epitome of an unselfish player. He rebounds the basketball, he affects the game in five statistical categories. He shoots a higher percentage than all the point guards and they always talk about how he can’t shoot."

Dooling continued, “Not only do I think he’s the second-best player in the NBA behind Kevin Durant, but I think he is an amazing leader. I think he doesn’t get a fair shake in the media and I wish they knew my friend the way I did.”



Keyon also calls Garnett a "genius", and the best, most influential player of this generation.  I think what he means is that Garnett is a jumpshooting big, which leads one to expect him to be soft, like Bob Macadoo and Chris Bosh, but in fact he's extra tough.

Kevin Garnett has motivated more players to get better than any other player in our time because of the way he approaches the game and how he talks to them. But he’s not doing it to belittle them, he’s doing it to drive himself. Kevin is awesome. I love that guy to death. I feel that way about a lot of our guys but those two guys in particular, I wanted to be there for them.


Thankyou Keyon for letting us in a little.  Your retirement really was a tough one to take.  Thankyou for helping us understand and for sharing some of your wisdom, and for making it easier for people in general to talk about abuse.  Thankyou Jessica Camarato for one of the best interviews ever.  I've increasingly thought of you as possibly my favorite local writer.  This amazing, strong, deep  piece confirms that.

I have to say, I do not agree with Dooling's comments about Billy Hunter.  I don't know the guy, but the way the Players' Union got crushed was despicable, and apparently this is not surprising considering Hunter's reportedly nepotistic ways.  Dooling needs to wake up about Hunter, I believe. He calls for Rondo and Garnett to play important roles in the union.  That I agree with.

Dooling will still be there for the team this season.  It's going to be a long, hard season.   We'll need him around. 

Dooling will still be involved with the Celtics this season. He plans to keep his home in the Boston area and has been invited by Rivers to travel with the team to road games. Dooling would like to do community service in the cities the Celtics play in through his charity, the Gametyme Foundation.

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Reply C'slife
12:09 AM on September 28, 2012 
It was a huge deal that Dooling retired. His influence was strong, and he became a natural Celtic. Love the post Paul.
Reply paul
12:20 AM on September 28, 2012 
Thanks Cslife. It's so moving that Dooling opened up this way so that we could understand what happened. I think he must realize how much he came to mean to Celtics fans in just a year.
Reply Morena
2:36 AM on September 28, 2012 
Great post Paul.
I read the whole article and it's very touching. I really wish Keyon the best. He deserves it.

When he talks about Rondo it's very interesting. It turns out that Rondo was already more of a leader than everybody thought.
Reply BostonGlenn
8:10 AM on September 28, 2012 
I love this Guy! He is so honest and very down to earth! I love this article. It's really nice to hear what Keyon said about the Organization. I can proudly shout "LET'S GO CELTICS"..
Reply paul
8:44 AM on September 28, 2012 
Morena says...
Great post Paul.
I read the whole article and it's very touching. I really wish Keyon the best. He deserves it.

When he talks about Rondo it's very interesting. It turns out that Rondo was already more of a leader than everybody thought.

it really is a unique article. Kudos to both Camarato and Dooling. I agree too - it seems that Rondo has come a long way, very fast, and that Dooling played a role in that.
Reply paul
8:44 AM on September 28, 2012 
BostonGlenn says...
I love this Guy! He is so honest and very down to earth! I love this article. It's really nice to hear what Keyon said about the Organization. I can proudly shout "LET'S GO CELTICS"..

I hope Dooling really is going to be around for the team this year.
Reply jlil89
11:52 PM on September 28, 2012 
I was shocked when I read this. I knew something must have went wrong with Keyon but my god. Poor guy. He means so much to this team and I am so glad we had his influence last year. Also extremely happy with his comments about Rondo, KG, Doc, the whole Boston organization. It's great he will be sticking around to show his support.

Everything is great after all :)
Reply paul
7:27 PM on September 29, 2012 
Stay around Keyon!
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