Keyon L. Dooling is a motivational speaker, life coach and author who recently retired from the National Basketball Association after almost thirteen years as a professional athlete. During his time in the NBA he served for eight years as an officer with the National Basketball Players Association. Keyon played two seasons at the University of Missouri before becoming an early entry candidate for the 2000 NBA Draft. He was selected by Orlando in the first round – 10th overall pick. Keyon was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and played for the Miami Heat, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Memphis Grizzles and eventually the Boston Celtics.
Keyon is married to his high school sweetheart, Natosha Dooling and together they have four wonderful children. Keyon and Natosha are very involved in philanthropic endeavors. They started the Respect Foundation, a not for profit 501c3 focusing on sexual assault prevention and creating awareness associated with mental health and wellness. The foundation was a direct result of Keyon’s experience. In the summer of 2012, he faced a life altering incidence where he had to choose life over a career. Remarkably, a NBA great who has always appeared to have it together experienced a serious mental breakdown, landing him in a Boston area mental hospital. Over-medicated, paranoid and hallucinating all of which was brought on by the trauma he endured as a child – sexually assaulted by a family friend. Keyon suffered from PTSD as a result of his inability to deal with this terrible secret that he was able to conceal from family, his wife and friends. He never talked about what happened to him until he was thirty-two years old and embracing mental health therapy and counseling.
After the mental breakdown, there were many who still believed in Keyon including the Boston Celtics who soon after hired him to work in the front office. He later went to assist the Memphis Grizzles during the Western Conference finals. In his retirement, Keyon wanted to channel his energy in developing a new business venture. As the Founder and President of Dooling Enterprises, where he provides life coaching, image and brand consulting services and acts as a motivational speaker touring the country promoting child abuse prevention, mental health and wellness. Mr. Dooling believes that creating physical, mental and spiritual balance is essential to personal and professional success. He also believes that no child should have to endure sexual assault, but if they do, should have the opportunity for healing and restoration. Keyon’s has learned through his many speaking engagements and tours that he was not alone in his tragic sexual assault. Often times, after a presentation someone reached out to share they had endured the same or similar experience and wanted to thank him for being open and authentic. The mental ward in Boston did not work for Keyon; it only for him intensified the mental health issues. Keyon believed the most effective treatment was creating a mental health and wellness experience through therapy, spirituality, emotional maturity and mental health. All of which later helped to bring about the creation of a social development and character building program model designed by Mr. Dooling called #KDBLUPRINT for Success. Currently, Keyon is using this program as he serves in a contractual role with the NBA for Player Development. Mr. Dooling has been able to keep his message of hope, healing and restoration alive through various speaking engagements with the National Basketball Association and their Team Development Summit. He was also a recent guest speaker and panelist at Fatherhood Summit hosted by Soledad O’Brien. Other national speaking engagements include the NBA’s development League, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Along with support from his wife, therapy, family and friends Keyon was resilient in making a strong comeback, much like when he was in the NBA and the Memphis Grizzles needed his energy, passion and leadership to take on the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Finals. The mental breakdown impacted his life in many ways, but out of this tragedy came healing and restoration, which began to unleash his creativity in the form of a book. He authored an autobiography entitled “What’s Driving You? How I Overcame Abuse and Learned to Lead in the NBA. The book is a formidable tale of life deferred, interrupted but ultimately triumphant. He also wrote, stars and produces the “I AM RESPECT TOUR”, which is a monologue accompanied by visual illustrations along with music written specifically for the performance. The tour, like Keyon’s life is enlightening taking the audience on a personal journey of the sexual assault he faced as a child, the PTSD that he endured and how he’s overcoming the sting of abuse.