The heart of the NBA

March, 15, 2011
3/15/11
11:05
AM ET
Abbott By Henry Abbott
ESPN.com
Archive
Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times tells the story of Kim Hughes, former Clippers assistant and interim head coach who was diagnosed with prostate cancer while he worked for the Clippers.
Hughes' new doctor, Stuart Holden, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, was receptive to doing the surgery the following week.

But then Hughes encountered yet another major obstacle.

"I contacted the Clippers about medical coverage and they said the surgery wouldn't be covered," Hughes said. "I said, ‘Are you kidding me?' And they said if they did it for one person, they'd have to do for everybody else."

When Dunleavy learned the Clippers wouldn't cover the cost of Hughes' surgery, he mentioned it to his players.

Several of them, including now Milwaukee Bucks forward Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric, were taken aback by the news and decided to offer their assistance.

"Kim was one of our coaches and he's a really good friend of mine, too," Maggette said. "He was in a situation where the Clippers' medical coverage wouldn't cover his surgery. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone in need, to do something that Christ would do.

"It shows your humanity, that you care for other people and not just yourself. Kim was in a life-and-death situation."

It was indeed a dicey time for Hughes. After a biopsy was taken, he learned his prostate cancer was much worse than he believed.

The cancer had quickly spread and was on the brink of moving to other areas of his body.

There are a lot of different reactions one might have to that.

One of the most obvious is to add yet another well-deserved log to the bonfire of owner Donald Sterling's reputation.

Another one is to think like a financial planner, and use it as a reminder to plan for health care needs. Prostate cancer is, sadly, not rare at all. Neither is heart trouble, breast cancer, stroke, car accidents ... the list goes on and on. These things can all be incredibly expensive to treat, and can happen essentially to anyone just about any time. Coach Hughes was lucky enough to be able to pass the hat to get those bills covered, but that won't work for most of us. Whether it's opting out of your crappy work insurance to get something better on the open market, a health savings account or something else ... assuming these things won't happen, or that your insurance will cover it, is not the same as having a plan.

But honestly, my main thought is not anything but joy. Nice stinking going, Corey Maggette. Hats off to you Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric. We talk about these NBA players all the time, but we don't know them very well. This is incredibly valuable insight, not to be taken lightly. (As the article goes on, it explains that they also wanted the donations to remain a secret.) They were tested, and they did something extraordinary. Fantastic. Combined with Hughes' evident recovery from the cancer, this story is nothing but happy.

Henry Abbott | email

TrueHoop, NBA

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?