Larry Nance knows he's fortunate to be where he is today. At the age of 16, the Cleveland Cavaliers center was diagnosed with Chron's disease and he wasn't sure what the future was going to bring. But doctors were able to treat it and he's now a spokesperson for the disease. Popculture.com recently caught up with Nance and he started a partnership with Goodyear. With the help of his organization, Athletes vs. Chron's & Colitis (AVC), Nance was able to send two high school athletes, who are also IBD patients, to a Cavs game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center and they also got take a ride in the famous Goodyear blimp. The two athletes also got to meet Nance and talk about their health experiences.
"I was thrilled to partner with them," Nance said when talking about his partnership with Goodyear. "Hopefully we can keep a partnership going. We got to make a pretty big difference and give two kids out in LA an experience of a lifetime and go ride on the Goodyear blimp and come see the Cavs play."
Nance knows what the kids are going through because he went through the same thing at their age. He said he's happy they were able to treat the disease at that time because he probably wouldn't be playing in the NBA right now.
"It was scary at first," Nance said when he was first diagnosed with Chron's. When you hear chronic disease, especially in high school, all you want to do is fit in and be normal. It was scary, but at the same time, looking back on it now, I’m so thankful I was diagnosed because we were able to treat it. Had I not been diagnosed I certainly wouldn’t be here today.
"I"m glad to be the face of it. I'm glad I get to bring awareness and I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Nance has helped thousands of young kids raise awareness of Chron's and colitis through his non-profit which he started with Noah Webber. It was Webber and his father who pitched the idea to Nance and they launched it in 2017. Webber also has Chron's and his father is a gastrointestinal doctor.
"We're three-years in and hopefully it just keeps getting bigger and bigger," Nance added.
As for Nance's basketball career, he has been a member of the Cavs since 2018 after spending his first three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavs are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, so the question is how can the team turn things around moving forward?
"I think were on the process of doing that," Nance stated. "It's all about establishing a culture. We have such talented young guys that we just need to continue to show them how to be professionals night in and night out and you got to bring it in this league. The more we show those guys that, the more we get our vets on the same page, it's going to be huge for us."
Nance is the son of Larry Nance Sr. who was a three-time NBA All-Star and the winner of the first Slam Dunk contest. Nance Jr. doesn't have the same accolades as his father, but he really wants one thing before his career is over and that's an NBA championship.
"I want to win one bad," he said. "I think if we keep doing all the right stuff, heading in the right direction, I just hope that's where my career takes me."