Same Warrior, New Battle: Brian Grant Won't Back Down From Parkinson's Disease

May 02, 2018 | by Chris Ballard, Sports Illustrated

He could hear the roar from the back hallway of the Rose Garden, the clatter of 20,000 fans.

For years, Brian Grant had fed off that roar, back when Blazers fans wore T-shirts that read "Rasta Monsta" and embraced him as they had few others. Never the fastest, biggest or most skilled, Grant got by on hustle and desire. What was it Tim Duncan once said? "Hardest-working guy in the league. You've got to respect that cat." And Grant took pride in that. On playing an entire season with a torn labrum. On never backing down, whether it was guarding Karl Malone or levering his 6'9" frame into Shaquille O'Neal. On trying harder than anyone else. He got out of Georgetown, Ohio, by not trying; survived 12 years in the league by trying; tore up both knees by trying.

But now, standing in that concrete corridor on a November night in 2008, two years after his final NBA game, Grant felt only fear and anxiety. He was there to honor an old friend, former Blazer Kevin Duckworth, who'd died of heart failure at 44. All Grant needed to do was be present. Wave, bow his head, pay his respects. And yet he'd already sweated through his white undershirt, the perspiration breaching his blue button-down and threatening his navy blazer. He thought about ducking into the bathroom to towel off, maybe even bolting the arena.

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