Former lottery pick Robert Swift struggled for years with methamphetamine and heroin addiction.
After seven years away from the game, during which he battled drug addiction, former NBA lottery pick Robert Swift has signed with a club in Spain.
Swift, 32, signed with Circulo Gijon, in Spain’s fifth division, earlier this month and made his debut for the team on Sunday.
The SuperSonics selected Swift straight out of high school with the 12th pick in the 2004 NBA draft and he spent five disappointing seasons with the franchise, appearing in a total of just 97 games due to knee injuries.
In Asturias to newborn children we put a Cigua (an amulet against the evil eye) in the crib to protect them from the dangers. Yesterday the team decided to give #RobertSwift a cigua to protect him in his new life.— Teslacard Círculo Gijón (@CirculoGijon) February 26, 2018
Welcome back to the basketball, Robert !!! pic.twitter.com/fL4WcR7e5M
After he was let go by the Thunder (following their move from Seattle), Swift played briefly in the D-League and later in Japan. After a failed tryout with the Blazers in 2011, Swift gave up basketball, at which point he spiraled into addiction. Swift was the subject of a 2016 Sports Illustrated article by Chris Ballard chronicling his substance abuse struggles. He would frequently go without sleep for three or four days at a time as he mixed methamphetamine, heroin and alcohol.
Swift spent time squatting in his former home after it was foreclosed on and was later arrested on weapons charges when police raided the home of a drug dealer where he was staying. He spent a month in prison and started playing basketball again.
On Sunday, Swift recorded a double-double in his debut game with Gijon—16 points and 14 rebounds.
“The only thing I can say, no matter how bad things seem, it’s never too late to make a change and decide on course of action to better your life,” Swift told The Shawnee News-Star in January.