NBA Players Covered The Cost Of Coach’s Cancer Surgery

The image of the spoiled, selfish athlete is one the media are quick to co-sign and produce examples of. The assumption is that most of the good things they do are simply for a PR photo opportunity.In 2004 a group of Clippers players quietly got together to cover surgery costs for their assistant coach, minus the fanfare that ordinarily covers a generous act like this.

In September 2004, while he was an assistant for the Clippers, Kim Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When Hughes went for a second opinion, he found a doctor that would perform the surgery required within a week’s time (not the couple of months his own doctor had advised him to wait). Not only would he be saving his life, once recovered, he wouldn’t miss a great deal of time away from work (pre season starts at the top of October generally).

As is the case with millions of Americans, the doctor he found wasn’t covered by his insurance network. The Clippers refused to pay for the procedure as their fear was that anytime any other employee of the Clippers organization became ill, they’d expect the team to cover the expenses.

Help came in the form of several players on the team including,  Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric. In total, they covered his entire medical bill which was about $70,000. And it’s a good thing Hughes when with his gut instinct, the cancer had spread and was threatening other parts of his body.