Adam's inspirational story

STEVE SIMMONS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

The menu never changes for Adam Morrison.

It is same food, same time, two hours and 15 minutes before the game. He is that succinct, that disciplined, that remarkable.

That diabetic.

It's hard enough to be anybody in professional sport at any given time. The odds are desperately against you. But every once in a while there is an athlete who defies logic, whose story needs to be told, repeated, and then told again.

Diabetes has a mind of its own. If you have it, and I do, one of two things usually happens. Either it takes over your life, or you take over it.

Either way, it's a daily challenge, a life-sentence of sorts: Diabetes is powerful, relentless and unforgiving. Living with diabetes means scheduling every day, every meal, every snack, understanding your medication and how it controls your energy levels, how you have to balance foods and exercise and drugs.

That much I understand. What Morrison does, every day, blows me away.

Just as Bobby Clarke's career, in retrospect, did the same. "I didn't give a damn that I had to take needles," Clarke said. "That never bothered me. I just asked the doctor: 'Could I play?' He said: 'Sure.' That's all I needed to know."

Adam Morrison asked the same question when he was 14, when he was first diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. His endocrinologist told him he could do anything he wanted. He didn't tell him he'd end up being picked third in the NBA draft.

"He's in good hands," Charlotte Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff said of his rookie. "He's in Adam's hands. Adam knows how to take care of himself. He's got us all wanting to eat steak and potato now.

"To know the regiment you have to live with it every day, I don't know if most people could do that. It's like what happens to great basketball players. It's their self-discipline that makes them great. To be able to stay with their routine. That's what makes basketball players. These guys don't just show up -- the (Michael) Jordans, the (Larry) Birds, they had a routine, they were self disciplined. The guys who failed in this league, and a lot of guys have great talent, fail because they have no discipline."

Breakfast is at 9:30 a.m. on game day, give or take a second. The same regimen, same food. Lunch is after the morning shootaround. Then it's injection time, not anyone's idea of an afternoon shot. Then it's steak and baked potato, always steak and baked potato -- his protein and his carbohydrate -- to get his blood glucose numbers up high enough to enable him to play.

In his pocket there is always a snack. He wears a diabetes pump -- it dispenses insulin when the body requires it -- but takes it off for games. He carries his own food in airports, on team charters, everywhere he goes. Just in case. For reasons not always explained, you can have high blood glucose readings that bring on lethargy or low readings that bring on sweating and shaking without any real warning.

So he tests his blood with a glucometre. Several times a day. During games. After games. The monitoring never stops. This is Year 1 in the NBA. "I hope," said Morrison, "I can have a long career."

He says he feels "blessed" to have made it this far.

He talks quietly, sitting in the Bobcats locker room at the Air Canada Centre, probably having told this story too many times. It may be an old story, but one that never should grow old.

Not when you consider the number of kids who live with diabetes. Not when you consider that another well-known person, this time the former pro wrestler, Bam Bam Bigelow, is just the latest to die from the disease.

"Sometimes, it gets boring," he said of the food. The same routine. The same times. A life forever scheduled.

You want to cheat. You want a burger. You want fries. You want ice cream. It's human nature. Diabetes is a disease where you don't stop thinking about food: What you can and can't eat, when you can and can't eat. You never eat so little and think about it so much.

An athletic life is by no means routine, which makes developing a routine all the more challenging.

Morrison contributed only three points last night in a loss to the Raptors. That doesn't diminish what he is accomplishing, every game, every night.

"It's cool," he said of being a hero, another example of anything being possible. "For me, that's special."


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