A friend of Delonte West has revealed the NBA star is addicted to embalming fluids and thanked Mavericks owner Mark Cuban for getting him into rehab.
Earlier this week video emerged of Cuban picking the 37-year-old up from a Texas gas station and the former multi-millionaire athlete is now staying at a treatment center in Florida, according to reports.
Lenora Cole, 50, who found West panhandling outside a grocery store near Irving six months ago, said she has been desperate for the father-of-two to receive professional help.
Cole, who has been supporting West with cash, clean laundry and meals, revealed that he is addicted to embalming fluids and alcohol and suffers from paranoia.
Lenora 'Quinn' Cole (left), who happened across West panhandling outside a grocery store in Las Colinas six months ago, said she was desperate for the father-of-two to receive professional help
Delonte West with wife Caressa and son Cash pictured together in 2015. According to TMZ, West's family has been desperately trying to convince him to get help, which he is now open to
Troubled former NBA guard Delonte West (left) was met at a Texas gas station by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (right) in the latest attempt to help the 37-year-old, who has battled bipolar disorder and a drug problem
Mother-of-one Cole, from Irving, said: 'He's a sweet and humble person. He's not violent or aggressive at all, ever.
'He has a good heart and a good sense of humor. He's just addicted to embalming fluid and alcohol.
'It's really sad. I was trying to get him help, but he was really paranoid. He didn't seem to trust anyone but me.
'It was really hard to convince him that he needed to accept professional help and go into rehab.'
Cole said she has been praying for someone like Cuban to come forward and help West, who earned at least $18 million in his ten year career.
Delonte West pictured playing for the Mavs against his former college teammate and longtime friend Jameer Nelson in 2012
West revealed that he suffered from bipolar disorder in 2008 and retired from the sport in 2015. Photos of him begging on the street first went viral in 2016.
Cole, who works for a school bus service, says she has been helping the former star by paying for his basic necessities since April.
'I pay his phone bill and try to make sure he's safe as best I can. I don't earn much, but I don't drink or smoke, so I can afford to give him a little bit of money.
'He's in a really bad place right now, but I think he's finally ready to accept some help to get sober and get his life back on track.'
West was spotted wandering around barefoot in Houston four years ago and in January 2020, he was recorded getting beaten up on a highway in Washington DC.
Cole said West usually stayed in Camp City, or under a bridge in Dallas, which is a known hub for homeless people.
She said: 'I know he's been dipping his cigarettes in embalming fluid, they call it "smoking wet."'
Also known as 'fry' or 'illy,' a cigarette or cannabis joint is soaked in embalming fluid (a compound of formaldehyde, methanol, ethanol) and dried before being smoked.
The hallucinogenic drug can have dangerous side effects such as amnesia, paranoia and psychosis.
West in photographs taken by his friend Leonora Cole
West in a selfie with his friend Leonora Cole (left) and the mother-of-one (right)
Cole said: 'Sometimes I'll braid his hair and wash his clothes, or buy new clothes for him.' (photos provided by Cole)
THE RISE AND FALL OF DELONTE WEST
The following is a brief timeline of Delonte West's basketball career and his subsequent personal problems:
On Monday it was reported that Cuban had contacted West's mother Delphina Addison, who asked the billionaire to track down her son.
Ultimately Cuban was able to get in touch with West, and the two arranged to meet at a Texas gas station on Monday, according to TMZ.
West was then brought to a local hotel by Cuban. TMZ is also reporting that West is now in a drug treatment program in Florida, which Cuban has offered to pay for.
Through a team spokesman, Cuban declined to comment on the situation to the Daily Mail.
West's family has been trying desperately to persuade him to enter rehab for some time, but he is now open to getting treatment, according to TMZ.
Cuban confirmed the gas station meeting to ESPN, which referred to West as 'homeless.'
West, a father of two, is still married to his second wife, Caressa. It's unclear if she is in touch with West at this time.
In what has become a sadly regular occurrence for West, brief video of the meeting with Cuban went viral, prompting fans and friends to plead for the former St. Joseph's star to seek help.
Speaking about how she met West, Cole said: 'I was driving by Kroger one day and I saw him. I was like "hey, I think that's Delonte West."
'I gave him some money and my number and told him to call me if he needed anything. That was about six months ago. We've been friends ever since.
'He's in a really bad place right now, but I think he's finally ready to accept some help to get sober and get his life back on track.
'He calls me all the time and we meet up a few times a week and talk.
'I'll usually give him some money and make him eat something, or I'll take him to my house so he can have a shower and a sleep in a comfortable place.
'Sometimes I'll braid his hair and wash his clothes, or buy new clothes for him.
'I'm always like, "Delonte what are you doing that for? It's such a waste of your life."
'He knows I'm right, but I don't think he knows how to stop. He needs professional help.
'Now he's going to be in safe hands, I hope. He's bipolar and those type of drugs with his condition, it's really bad.
'He's had mental health problems. He got tired of being in the spotlight. It broke him down.
Troubled former NBA guard Delonte West was met at a Texas gas station by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in the latest attempt to help the 37-year-old, who has battled bipolar disorder and a reported drug problem. According to TMZ , Cuban had been trying to reach West for days after a photograph of him begging on the streets of Dallas went viral last week. Ultimately the billionaire was able to get in touch with West, who agreed to meet
Delonte West met Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban (left, right) in the latest attempt to help the 37-year-old, who has battled bipolar disorder and reported drug issues
A Twitter user known as Eazy B recently wrote that he stumbled into West and bought the former NBA guard Popeyes chicken
'I know he takes drugs and he drinks alcohol, but everyone deserves a new start in life.
'I have a past too. I used to drink myself, but I've been sober for 20 years now, if I can do it so can he.
'I really believe he can do it. He just needs some extra support. He's lost right now, and in a really bad place. He needs someone in his corner.
'I think I was the only sober friend that he had for a long time. But it was taking a lot out of me to help him on my own.
'I'm so thankful that Mark stepped in to help him get what he needs.
'This is exactly what I was praying for. I love Delonte like a little brother, he's a good person. I really think this will be a turning point for him.'
Monday's footage of West with Cuban came nearly 10 months after another viral video showed West being pummelled along a Maryland highway.
West, who previously revealed that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, is not seen fighting back in the footage. Rather, the 6-foot-4 Washington D.C. native appears to be incapacitated as his assailant stomps on his motionless body.
Price George's County (Maryland) Police did arrive on the scene, briefly handcuffing West while he shared his side of the story. According to police, a female witness claimed the fight began when one man hit the other with a bottle. The other man allegedly responded by repeatedly hitting the first man, presumably West.
Video of West being pummeled on a Maryland highway went viral in January. West, who previously revealed that he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2008, is not seen fighting back in the footage. Rather, the 6-foot-4 Washington D.C. native appears to be incapacitated as his assailant stomps on his motionless body
Both men refused medical assistance and declined to press charges. Neither were publicly identified by police, but West is seen rambling incoherently about the incident in a second body cam video.
The men were known to each other, according to the police statement.
West's former Saint Joseph's University teammate, ex-NBA star Jameer Nelson, and their one-time coach Phil Martelli expressed their concern on social media after the videos went viral.
'I'm sick today,' Nelson wrote. 'Mental illness is something that a lot of people deal with and don't even know it, until sometimes it's too late. I'm not sure what exactly is going on with Dwest but he knows I'm in his corner and will help him get through this.
'Yes, I've spoken to him Over the past several months, just trying to be there for him as a friend.'
Nelson ended his statement by pleading for everyone to be respectful.
'And please be mindful, when you posting videos or pictures of somebody,' he wrote. 'You may think your (sic) helping but you might be hurting them even more. People have kids and their kids don't deserve to be embarrassed. Please Pray!'
Martelli, now an assistant coach at Michigan, responded to Nelson's statement on Twitter: 'Over the past several hours I have talked with many who are willing to help - please read and embrace Jameer's wisdom - we are reaching out to our basketball network to get the professional help Delonte needs. This is so very painful.'
West first made headlines along with Nelson and Martelli on a Saint Joseph's team that went 27-0 in the 2004 regular season and earned a top seed for the NCAA tournament before losing to Oklahoma State in the Elite 8.
The search for West began last week when a photograph of the former first-round pick begging on the streets of Dallas went viral. A concerned Cuban reached out to West's mother Delphina Addison, who asked the billionaire to track down her son, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania
West's former Saint Joseph's teammate, ex-NBA star Jameer Nelson (left), and their one-time coach Phil Martelli expressed their concern on social media after the videos went viral
He was then drafted by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft and eventually became a starter alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008.
West continued to bounce around the NBA after that, playing in the D-League and even signing in China, but mental health issues began to overshadow his career.
In 2009 he was pulled over riding a three-wheeled motorcycle, leading police to discover three firearms strapped to his body. He ultimately pleaded guilty to weapon charges and was ordered to undergo psychological counseling, in addition to probation and community service.
In 2016 a photo emerged of him panhandling in suburban Washington D.C., but it was never proven that he was actually homeless at the time.
According to Complex Sports, West was seen wandering around Houston without shoes four years ago.
West earned over $16 million during his nine-year career, which ended after his only season with the Mavericks in 2011-2012, when he was just 28.
West's NBA career may be best remembered for his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, when he played with LeBron James (right) on one of the best teams in the NBA's Eastern Conference