(Memphis) There’s a new member of the Memphis Grizzlies who has more to share with the world than just basketball.
Keyon Dooling was sexually abused as a child, only coming forward with this revelation in September.
He took a year-off from basketball to get therapy and now he’s back as a point guard for the Grizzlies.
We caught-up with Dooling on the basketball court Monday and he says his passion is basketball, but his mission is to help other people.
Dooling is use to speaking on camera.
He’s been in the NBA for more than a decade but talking about this topic is new, “I could not control what happened to me at five or six years old.”
Dooling is now talking about what he went through as a child, “I am not a victim. I am a survivor.”
“Initially, there was a lot of fear about coming out, especially being in a masculine, macho sport,” said Dooling.
The point guard was molested at five years old by a family friend, “I started drinking early. I started smoking early.”
He says he didn’t talk about it or even think about it until something inside him broke just last year, “I was in Seattle doing charity work and I was in the bathroom and a guy touched me on my butt. That`s when some of the things started coming out. Some of the memories started coming out. I was asking myself dang why did I get so angry?”
Instead of re-signing with the Boston Celtics, he turned down the million dollar contract to get help, “You know, attacking those emotions, dealing with those emotions, and learning how to categorize them and cope with them is very, very helpful.
He’s since founded a non-profit, “I started the Respect Foundation and we’ll be doing a lot of preventative, awareness.”
Since September he has spoken in public about his experience more than 50 times, “Telling my story, telling my story.”
He’s turning his demons into his life’s direction, “I want them to know that there is a way to heal. There is a way to heal. The first step is embracing it.”
He’s embracing what haunts him to be better on the court and better in life, “So, I challenge everybody who is going through it to reach out to somebody and try to get help.”
Dooling has played two games so far with the Grizzlies and is signed to play with the team for the remainder of the year.
As for helping survivors of sex abuse, he says he plans to do that for the rest of his life