Keyon Dooling has completely retired as an NBA player and has moved on to the next phase of his career, he tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (all Twitter links). According to Spears, Dooling is now a certified life coach, subcontracted through the NBA to mentor troubled NBA and D-League players, and is also writing a book.
If word of Dooling’s retirement sounds familiar, it may be because he made a similar announcement in September 2012. The 33-year-old eventually decided to return to the NBA and signed with the Grizzlies last spring, before reportedly drawing interest as a free agent over the summer. It seems unlikely that another comeback is on the offing this time around, however.
In 13 NBA seasons, Dooling served primarily as a backup guard for the Clippers, Heat, Magic, Nets, Bucks, Celtics, and Grizzlies. The former 10th overall pick averaged 7.0 PPG and 2.2 APG in 728 overall contests (19.4 MPG). His best season probably came in 2008/09 in New Jersey with the Nets, when he recorded career-highs in PPG (9.7), APG (3.5), and 3PT% (.421) to go along with a 13.6 PER, the second-best mark of his career. According to Basketball-Reference, Dooling earned more than $30MM over the course of his playing career.
While Dooling’s on-court numbers may not have been exceptional, his story off the court qualifies as such. Following his initial retirement, the longtime point guard opened up to Jessica Camerato of CSNNE.com about the “meltdown” he experienced in the summer of 2012 that led to his decision, as well as the adversity he’d overcome in his life, including emotional, mental, and sexual abuse. At the time, Dooling indicated that he wanted to share his story as a way of helping others in similar situations cope, so his new career path doesn’t come as a surprise.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.