The second annual Total Health Forum brought together doctors, public leaders and athletes to discuss their experience with living a healthy lifestyle, the event was hosted by the NBA and Kaiser Permanente. The panels focused on several health topics and the importance of raising awareness on certain illnesses.
“All of the players are role models,” said Kaiser Permanente chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson in regards to their partnership with the NBA. “It’s a wonderful match, especially for young people to have someone to look up to.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver believes that health is a fundamental issue; NBA teams prioritize the needs and circumstances of the cities that houses their franchises.
“We realize that inevitably 29 communities are going to be disappointed that their team didn’t win the championship,” Silver said. “For us, it just can’t be about wins and losses, it’s about these teams being a part of the fabric of the community.”
Two-time WNBA champion Sue Bird, NBA All-Star Chris Paul and Lakers legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson, James Worthy and Rick Fox shared anecdotes relating to having a healthy body and mind. Paul noted how his diet became stricter since his rookie season when he frequently partook in McGridle combos.
“I was Rookie of the Year, I was playing some of my best basketball eating anything that I wanted,” Paul said. “You got to be like a fancy sports car… you can’t put regular gas into it, you got to put premium fuel into it to make sure it runs right.”
Paul also talked about learning time management, mentioning how he stays involved with his children and does outreach projects during the season.
Worthy also talked about his outreach efforts and about the importance of mentorship. Bird recalled getting a nutritionist and learning that she was not getting the proper amount of calories. Fox expressed how living healthy came after his career and explained how he gets in 15,000 steps a day.
“I came from an era when we got done with a game, we had beers on the plane,” Fox said. “For me, in retirement, I’ve gotten wiser and healthier.”
Johnson took the place of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West who had a health scare earlier in the week. The Showtime Lakers player talked about his childhood, living with HIV, and other topics. Other panelists included Baltimore mayor Catherine Pugh and Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf.
The NBA has been making moves to protect players and former players. In August, the National Basketball Players Association voted for current players to fund health insurance for retired players, who were in the NBA for at least three years. After negotiations with the NBA and the NBPA, basketball seasons will also be a week longer to restrain from having back-to-back games.
NBA Fit week lasted from January 18-26, 30 teams held clinics that encouraged fitness and teamwork. The 2017 NBA Team includes WNBA MVP Nneka Ogwumike, Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons and Emmanuel Mudiay of the Denver Nuggets.