In the most recent development in an increasingly sad story, Robert Swift was charged on Thursday after his October arrest for illegal possession of a sawed off shotgun. The gun was found last month during a raid of Swift's roommate, an alleged drug dealer, according to Christine Clarridge of the Seattle Times.
As reported by Levi Pulkieen of the Seattle PI, prosecutors describe the former lottery pick as "a heavily armed heroin addict who admitted to helping his drug dealer-turned-roommate collect a drug debt." Swift's former roommate is currently facing federal drug charges.
Swift essentially disappeared from the public eye after the Oklahoma City Thunder renounced his rights in December of 2009. He resurfaced to the headlines in 2013 when he refused to leave his foreclosed house in Sammamish, Washington. Swift eventually left, leaving behind shell casings and animal feces, among other things.
Swift, the 12th overall pick in the 2004 draft, jumped straight from high school to the NBA. To most, he represents the danger of the Preps to Pros system, as he was clearly not ready for the NBA game, and was also unable to handle his money properly. Swift reportedly made over twenty million dollars during his NBA career, but has nothing to show for it today.
Unfortunately, during Swift's time in the NBA, his parents, who he should have been able to look to for guidance, ended up taking advantage of him, according to Jayson Jenks of the Seattle Times.
"I think his parents probably had stars in their eyes and were taken up with this notion of playing in the NBA as much as he was," says Kevin Calabro, the former Sonics broadcaster. "And it’s too bad because it impacted a lot of people."
"They didn’t try to, but they wound up undermining everything," says David Benezra, who coached Swift’s club basketball team. "This is the result."
I know that Sonics fans were very frustrated with the way Swift's career ended up; however, I don't think any of us wanted to see his life unfold like this.
Here's to hoping that Robert can get the help that he needs and turn his life around.