Keyon Dooling has a tremendous amount of respect for Danny Ainge, not only for his acumen as a front office executive but more so for what he meant to him as a friend.
On the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast, Dooling discussed the Celtics' president of basketball operations' unwavering support for him when he was battling mental health issues.
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“When I was going through my breakdown situation, a lot of people didn’t know this, but Danny Ainge was on my couch, with my wife and my family, every night I was in a mental institution,” said Dooling, now a wellness counselor for the NBA Players Association. “That says a lot about DA.”
Although he only played one season with the Celtics, Dooling still remained a part of the organization shortly after retiring in 2012.
Upon retirement, the Celtics hired him as a player development coordinator.
But Dooling soon re-entered the league when the Memphis Grizzlies signed him where he appeared in seven games before retiring for good.
Since then, Dooling has been a staunch advocate promoting the value and importance of athletes better understanding the value in mental health and just as important, being more comfortable in discussing it and when needed and getting the necessary help.
Dooling knows better than most how important it is to not only recognize the value in being aware of one’s mental health, but also surrounding oneself with folks who can be there when needed — the way Ainge was there for him years ago.
The way Dooling sees it, what Ainge did for him is just part of the Boston Celtics' culture.
“He gets it,” Dooling said. “He gets people who work for him, people that come under that Celtics banner, he respects us. He’s good at what he does. He’s honest and transparent. That’s one of the biggest things that separates (Ainge)."
Dooling added, “He also cares.”