SACRAMENTO - Brian Grant returned to Sleep Train Arena a little different than he'd left it.
The former Sacramento Kings power forward attended Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers to help bring awareness to something he now battles following his 12-year NBA playing career: Parkinson's disease.
Parkinson's is a brain disorder that disrupts coordination, muscle movement and motor skills for which there is no cure.
The disease leads to tremors of the body, which is now evident with Grant, who was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson's in November 2008.
"I was going to do one of two things," Grant said. "Either I was going to run and hide, which I did for about a year, or I was going to step up and find my niche and see what it is I can do to help the cause."
Former Sacramento Kings forward Brian Grant talks to News10's Sean Cunningham about his battle against Parkinson's Disease, becoming an inspiration to people who battle the disease, and his memories with the Kings. News10/KXTV
Through his foundation, Grant has helped to raise awareness of the disease, and helped raise funding for research with the hope of one day finding a cure. His involvement has made him, alongside actor Michael J. Fox, who also suffers from Parkinson's, the face of the fight against the disease.
The Brian Grant Foundation is also dedicated to promoting active and healthy lifestyles for those who suffer from the ailment, as well as helping to educate those around them.
"It's great to be able to influence people, especially when it comes to something like Parkinson's," Grant said. "I don't want people to feel sorry for me, I just want people to be educated on this disease."
Grant was originally drafted by Sacramento with the eighth overall pick in the 1994 draft out of Xavier. He played with the Kings until he opted to leave via free agency in 1997, by signing a seven-year deal with the Portland Trailblazers. He went on to play with the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, before retiring in 2006.
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