Former Cleveland Cavaliers and current Olympiacos coach David Blatt was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis earlier this year, he shared in a statement released by the team Monday.
Blatt said he has no plans to step down at Olympiacos, where he has one year remaining on his contract:
“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. Τhe first thing I did was go back to my basketball coaching methodology of solving and overcoming difficulties.. it’s my three-step process. 1) what is the problem? 2) why did it happen? 3) How do we fix it?”
Blatt, 60, took over at Olympiacos in 2018 after coaching Darussafaka Tekfen in Turkey from 2016 to 2018. He was fired by the Cavaliers after a season-and-a-half at the helm in 2016, posting an 83-40 record.
Long considered one of the best European coaches in the world, Blatt led Olympiacos to a 15-15 record in his first season. He previously won a Euroleague championship with Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Blatt said in his statement:
“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. I am fortunate. I have great doctors trainers physical therapists and management that accept my disabilities and help me overcome. How could I possibly complain? I absolutely cannot and will not. It’s wasted effort and while I ask my players and staff to be the best version of themselves, I must ask and even demand from myself to do the same.”
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society defines PPMS as being “characterized by worsening neurologic function (accumulation of disability) from the onset of symptoms, without early relapses or remissions.”
The disease is typically treated with a combination of medication and rehabilitation efforts to manage symptoms.