Larry Nance, Jr. is making a career out of sheer athleticism. The Los Angeles Lakers’ forward has become a fan favorite through his endless hustle and his limitless hops, crushing several enormous dunks over the opposition in his two years in the league.
But there was a time when the former Wyoming Cowboy was far from becoming a professional athlete. Nance was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease as a teenager, hindering his natural development and making him weaker. At that time, his future profession was wildly under question.
Fortunately, Nance was able to overcome that issue and is well on his way to having a long career in the NBA. Now, the big man is looking to use his experiences to help others in similar situations.
Nance recently appeared on the HoopsHype podcast with Alex Kennedy and expressed his excitement about his new foundation, designed to help children with Crohn’s Disease recognize and achieve their dreams:
“I’m super excited about it. It’s something that I’m very proud of and very passionate about. Being that kid that had professional athlete dreams and being diagnosed with Crohn’s and wondering and searching if anybody else has done this or am I going to have to try to do this all on my own?
And that’s kind of where my love for [former NFL quarterback] David Garrard came around. If I can be this generation of kids’ David Garrard, a guy they look up to and say “Alright, he did it with Crohn’s, therefore it’s possible and now I can work towards it.” That’s kind of what sparked my interests in starting something.
Last year in Brooklyn, I met this kid Noah Webber, another kid that has Crohn’s and threw me an Instagram message and had a similar story to mine. So I reached out, asked him to meet me in Brooklyn and we got to talking and kind of set this whole thing up together, me and his family. It’s really taken off, I think we’re going to do just awesome things for the Crohn’s community and I’m really, really excited for the direction.”
This is all a pleasure to see. Nance has real experience as someone who overcame a huge obstacle to become one of the best in the world at his profession. That’s no easy task.
Now, Nance can inspire children following his footsteps to continue to fight hard for what they want.