Every 20 seconds, an American is diagnosed with diabetes.
That’s why the NBA, WNBA, Sanofi U.S., and the American Diabetes Association partnered to form the nationwide campaign Dribble to Stop Diabetes, with Brooklyn Nets Coach Avery Johnson it’s ambassador.
“Brooklyn is all about a community and people coming together. I wanted to get involved with a cause that I can bring awareness to and we can help reduce the risk of diabetes,” Johnson said, adding that 26 million suffer from the disease nationwide. “Dribble to Stop Diabetes is a great way to encourage fans to be more active and understand the risk of developing diabetes. I have a college coach that developed diabetes early on in adult life. He’s 76-years-old right now – a great example of someone who’s been diagnosed and is living a healthy lifestyle, working out every day.”
Johnson said that the reception to the program so far has been “great. It’s all about spreading the message. So get tested, talk to your doctor, visit our website, take a risk assessment. Also share different warning signs and symptoms like frequent urination and weight loss, extreme weight loss and fatigue, bladder and gum infections – people aren’t always aware about.”
With the increased popularity of the NBA right now and the new Brooklyn Nets, it’s easy to get ones ear. “I go to schools [and] teachers say, ‘It’s what they’ve been saying all the time, but now the kids listen to you.’ They understand all the potential risks about it [and the] importance of a healthy active lifestyle,” Johnson said. “I am always touched when an NBA fan comes in and says ‘I saw the commercial [and am] now living a healthy lifestyle and spreading the word throughout our family.”
Johnson, who is from New Orleans, said he used to eat fried foods frequently but tries to limit them. “The healthier you eat the more energy you have. And I definitely need energy in my job,” he said, adding that the mindset has spread to the basketball court.
“Every year we have annual physicals, I’ve talked to people who haven’t had a physical in five years who have gone and had one,” Johnson said.
Stay tuned for a new PSA, scheduled to launch in the new year.
With contributions by Denise Romano.