Keon Clark sentenced to 8 years prison

Former NBA player Keon Clark has received an eight-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to two charges. The former 1998 first round pick faced weapon, drug and traffic-related charges. On Wednesday he pleaded guilty to weapons and driving under the influence charges in two separate cases.

Pleads guilty to weapons and driving under the influence charges in Illinois

Former Toronto Raptor forward Keon Clark has been sentenced to eight years in an Illinois prison after pleading guilty to charges in two separate cases. Clark was traded to Toronto, along with Tracy Murray and Mamadou N'diaye, for Kevin Willis, Aleksandar Radojevic, Garth Joseph and a second-round pick on Jan. 12, 2001. He played 127 games with the Raptors. (Noren Trotman/Getty Images)

Former NBA player Keon Clark, who has said he is trying to turn his life around, was sentenced to eight years in prison Wednesday in a plea agreement with prosecutors on weapons and driving under the influence charges.

"I, uh, did a lot of stuff in my past," Clark tearfully said at his plea hearing in Vermilion County Circuit Court in Illinois, The News-Gazette reported. "I have to own up to it."

Clark pleaded guilty to two charges in two separate cases and was given four years for each count. He previously faced weapon, drug and traffic-related charges.

The 38-year-old ex-Toronto Raptors power forward was 23 when he became the 13th overall pick in the 1998 NBA draft. He last played for the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.

People think money will make your life better. Money didn't dissolve my problems. It increased them.- Ex-Raptors power forward Keon Clark

Clark has spoken publicly of his long battle with alcohol, which he says also occurred during his NBA career. He now says he's been sober for five months. He previously told the newspaper he wasn't prepared mentally to handle the lifestyle of a professional athlete, and says he was already on a "destructive path."

"The money, the fame, the fact that I was on TV. People think money will make your life better. Money didn't dissolve my problems. It increased them," he said, adding that he's been getting counseling while he's in custody.

Clark has been in the Vermilion County jail since Aug. 4. Prosecutors said he will have to serve 50 per cent of his sentence. He will receive credit for 138 days already served and must serve his sentences consecutively.

Clark's defence attorneys requested that the judge recommend he serve time at an Illinois Department of Corrections drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility outside Chicago so he can continue treatment.

Attorney Jim Martinkus of Champaign said after the hearing that he hopes Clark's treatment would "cure him of his addiction, which is the cause of most of his troubles."

Clark smiled and waved to supporters at the beginning of the hearing, including his mother and members of the Carter Metropolitan Community Church in Danville.

At one point during the hearing, he stood and addressed them, saying, "It could've been a lot worse. It's going to be a lot better."

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