'Hoops' a Family Affair
by Scott Agness
March 14, 2013
Tyler and Ben Hansbrough have accomplished an incredible feat – playing professional basketball in the NBA. It’s even more special that with the Pacers, they are playing together for the first time since their high school days.
Their oldest brother, Greg, attained a win that tops anything Tyler or Ben will ever do on the basketball court—he beat brain cancer. Diagnosed at an early age, Greg faced incredible odds for survival and he overcame them.
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In typical Hansbrough fashion, Greg’s toughness and drive helped shape who is he today, but it wasn’t easy. The eldest Hansbrough was in a fight for his life and then had to learn to walk, talk and do everyday things again.
"Having to learn to walk again," Ben said about his brother, "and doing all that stuff really has inspired us in ways that can't be explained."
"It was real tough," Tyler said. "Especially when you love somebody like that and you see them struggling. But, you know, the way he battled and fought through it, it was an inspiration to me. And it's something I'll always look up to him for."
So, when Tyler received a mailing from Mario Lichtenstein, the co-founder of Voices Against Brain Cancer, they wanted to help the cause.
Thursday night, all three brothers united in the practice gym of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, along with more than 100 others, for ‘Hoops with the Hansbrough,’ a night honoring Greg, other brain cancer survivors and the doctors who treat them. There were also about a dozen silent auction items that helped raise money for the foundation.
Tyler and Ben are the first professional athletes to lend their name for brain cancer, according to Lichtenstein. A little known fact: Brain tumors are the leading cause of solid tumor cancer death in children under the age of 20.
Teammates Gerald Green, Orlando Johnson, and other Pacers staff members were on hand for the event, as well as longtime Pacers player, Jeff Foster.
"For them to do a gesture like this for me as well for the brain cancer community," Greg said, "it's pretty fantastic. And it just shows you guys what great people I have and am lucky to call family."
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