Former Portland Trail Blazers great Brian Grant has transitioned from his playing days as an undersized forward who stood tall against some of the greatest bigs to play the game, to now, a spokesman for Parkinson’s disease along with the likes of Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox. Often times for most great legends, the greatest battles are never truly brought into the light.
That is until now, as a recent story published by Chris Ballard of Sports Illustrated details Grant’s fight. He’s now 46 and living in Portland with two of his daughters, and he speaks on the epic roller-coaster that his life has been since coming out publicly with Parkinson’s disease almost 10 years ago.
Life is never truly a fairy tale as Ballard points out in his article:
Anyone in Grant’s position faces a choice: Turn inward or face out. Escape the world or engage it.
For sure, the Brian Grant fans know is immortalized in the story. He was the guy who battled with some of the toughest NBA big men yet wore his heart on his sleeve as a Robin Hood for those in need:
“He’d be like, ‘Hey, anybody want to come over and have a beer?’ He’d have gangbangers in his house and people stealing stuff, and he was always thinking nobody was going to rob him or treat him a certain way. Thats just how he was. A perfect dude.”
But the side that most people never knew about, the continuous struggle which Grant admits still challenges him on a daily basis, brings to light the grim and yet joyous reality that makes Brian Grant the legend that lives on today:
“Grant used to dwell on why he got Parkinson’s. It’s a question he used to think about often.
It took a while for Grant to come to the realization that the why no longer matters. It’s about how he chooses to handle it. So these days he focuses on telling his story to as many people as possible, so others won’t feel ashamed and alone, as he once felt.”
The article certainly doesn’t shy away from the struggles he faces each and everyday, but it also serves to provide an understanding of what new battles lie ahead.
Editor’s note: Thank you to Blazer’s Edge contributor Kody Tarbell for this write-up.