Ralph Sampson, Jr
Ralph Sampson, Jr Image by: Ralph Sampson, Jr
Ralph Sampson, Jr
27 November 2020

Ralph Sampson: "How I coped with my father’s cancer diagnosis"

Ralph Sampson, Jr
2 minutes read time

NBA Hall of Famer, Ralph Sampson, reveals the healthier lifestyle habits his family has been embracing.

My grandmother had breast cancer when I was a young kid so that was my first experience with the disease. When my father was diagnosed with lung and prostate cancer a few years ago, I moved back home to Virginia and went to every doctor’s appointment with him. I really jumped into the healthcare world so I could understand what was happening to him and seek out the best course for treatment.

After his diagnosis, we as a family, started to really look at what we were eating and making healthier choices such as eating more vegetables and less red meat. In addition to my father’s cancer diagnosis, we also discovered he had a hernia. Sometimes one health issue could lead to an even larger underlying health issue to be discovered. I would encourage everyone out there to get full checkups every year with X-rays so they can detect things early like lung cancer. Early diagnosis is critical. The earlier you find it, the more options you have. It’s that simple. I’m thankful to say, both my mother and father are still with me today. 

When you’re playing in the NBA and make it to the finals, you learn you have to be the best you can be every day. It takes a lot of hard work and determination that I learned as a young boy. My parents taught me the value of perseverance. If you want something, you have to be dedicated to it. 

With Covid-19 present, we all have to work twice as hard to stay in shape. While many people are uncomfortable going to the gym, it’s an opportunity to work out more outside. I’ve been running and walking more frequently and even doing yoga outdoors. I’ve also seen people on my block with stationary bikes set up outside. You can’t just stay in the house all day and not get any fresh air. That’s not good for you mentally or for your spirit. For the days I can’t go outside, I created a gym in my house. When it comes to staying in shape, there are no excuses.

I think the pandemic has increased a self-care movement with everyone around the world. We’ve all been cleaning more and using hand sanitizer and making a greater effort to stay healthy. Getting involved with Movember was something that’s important to me because I feel men should be taking their health more seriously and this organization does a great job getting the word out. I also really enjoy giving back. 

People have asked me what keeps me going when I get down. The secret is, I don’t get down. I simply ask myself ‘How can I help somebody else?’ And that is truly what it’s all about.