Hansbrough speaks out for cancer research
by Dana Hunsinger Benbow, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Tyler Hansbrough remembers the backyard brawls with his two brothers.
He remembers setting up a trampoline — much to the dismay of his orthopedic surgeon father — next to abasketball goal so the three could slam dunk.
He remembers something else: His older brother, Greg, being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor at age 7. The family was told to enjoy him while they could. He didn’t have much time to live.
“When Greg first got diagnosed, he wasn’t given much of a chance,” said Tyler, 27, as he sat on the Pacers practice court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday. “It wasn’t good at all.”
Most people know Indiana Pacers players Tyler and youngest brother Ben, 25. But it’s their rarely mentioned older brother they say is the real standout.
Greg, 29, was their inspiration growing up, and he still is today.
“I watched him overcome obstacles that most people never see in their lifetime,” Tyler told The Indianapolis Star.
“What he’s been through, he’s a fighter. He’s a warrior,” said Ben. “He’s been a fighter his whole life.”
Fighter for sure. Although surgery to remove the tumor was successful, doctors thought Greg would never walk again. He not only walked, but he ran.
He played basketball for four years at his high school in Poplar Bluff, Mo. He ran track. He’s played soccer and run marathons as an adult even though the surgery had long-term effects on the left side of his body. He can’t move his left hand or the toes on his left feet.
And while Greg is his brothers’ inspiration, he says they are very much his.
“As I was training for marathons, I fed off of them more than they will ever know,” said Greg, who is finishing his communications degree at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where Tyler was a star for the Tarheels. “I pictured Tyler in the gym shooting. I pictured Ben lifting weights and playing pickup with anybody in town who would play with him.”
While the two younger Hansbroughs are the standout athletes now, it was Greg people watched before he got cancer. If parents … [For more on Tyler Hansbrough speaking out for brain cancer research, click here.]