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Basketball coach Blatt reveals multiple sclerosis battle

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Agence France-Presse

Olympiakos basketball coach David Blatt revealed on Monday that he had been diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis (PPMS).

“Sometimes life throws things at you that really have no explanation or rhyme or reason. Those are moments that upon recognising you have to make choices that test your true character,” the 60-year-old Israeli American said in a letter to the team.

Blatt said he was diagnosed with PPMS a few months ago by the Olympiakos medical team.

“The first thing I did was to go back to my basketball coaching methodology of solving and overcoming difficulties,” he said.

The former coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers said he had begun a specific exercise regime to combat the condition.

“I am a coach and my job is to lead and teach and inspire a lot of people,” he added.

“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 by disabilities and help me overcome.”

The former coach of Israel and Russia national teams said he will ask his players and staff at Olympiakos “to be the best version of themselves, I must ask and even demand from myself to do the same.”

Olympiakos have said that Blatt will once again lead the team on the last leg of his two-year contract in the EuroLeague, the 12th season he has been on the continental circuit.

The club will play in the A2 second division in the Greek Basketball League after being demoted last season for failing to show up for playoff contests against rival Panathinaikos.

Blatt has won six national championships and seven domestic cups, winning the EuroLeague title with Dynamo St. Petersburg in 2005.

He also led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA finals in 2015 and the Russian national team to the Euro Basketball crown in 2007 and the bronze medals at Euro 2011 and the 2012 Olympic Games.