JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli basketball coach David Blatt revealed that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
He revealed the news in a statement on the Greek Olympiacos team website on Monday.
“When I got over the initial shock and pain of understanding how this would and could change my life from today going forward, I decided I wasn’t giving in to anything. I was only going to adapt and adjust and find ways to continue my life as normally as possible,” he said. “I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people. Not being as agile or active doesn’t affect my ability to do those things.”
Blatt, now the coach of Olympiacos, a top Greek team, was fired in 2016 by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers after leading the club, powered by the return of star LeBron James, to the 2015 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games. He was hired by the Cavaliers because of his success coaching Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv and a number of other European teams.
Blatt said the disease, which attacks the central nervous system, has already given him balance, fatigue and weakness issues.
“I have taken on a specific regimen of strengthening and balance exercises as well as swimming and aquatic workouts to improve overall body conditioning and help with muscle pliability and motion,” he wrote. “I challenge myself to do simple functions that are easy for most but now are very taxing at times for me. I work. I maintain and I ask more from myself than less.”