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Clyde is on the campaign trail: Dribbling to Stop Diabetes

HOWIE EVANS AmNews Sports Editor | 11/18/2011, 12:10 p.m.

Yes, Walt "Clyde" Frazier is on the campaign trail and he's running hard. His status as one of this city's most recognizable individuals has made him an ideal candidate to help spread the word by joining the team that is "Dribbling to Stop Diabetes."

You bet Clyde knows how to dribble. One doesn't get inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame without knowing how. So Clyde was recruited and accepted on the team named "The Ambassadors," whose duties include using their celebrity to create awareness of the serious and deadly disease known as diabetes-a disease that millions often fail to recognize and can have fatal results when not addressed.

"Diabetes runs heavily in my family," said Clyde the other day as he prepared to join his team of Ambassadors on their way to a school in the city. The team was going to educate students about just what diabetes is, how to prevent getting the disease and how to fight it if you have been diagnosed as diabetic.

"It's about diet-it's about eating properly and exercising. I exercise at least an hour or more every day. It makes me feel good," he said.

We recalled road trips down to Philadelphia and Baltimore, when Clyde always had his assortment of fruit and vegetables and always sat on the driver's side of the bus near the middle. You never saw him drink a soda, either in the dressing room or on the bus.

"I know what my family went through and I had diabetes growing up. But it's well under control because I don't smoke and I am careful about what I eat. So there are no problems," he said.

Alana Beard of the WNBA and Chris Dudley, former NBA star, are both members of the Ambassadors. Dudley himself is afflicted with the disease, but through exercise and a healthy eating program, he has his diabetes well under control.

"Dribble to Stop Diabetes" is now a national campaign that has partnered with the NBA/WNBA and the American Diabetes Association as well as Sanofi. Since joining, Clyde has really educated himself regarding diabetes and can rattle off all the statistics. "Twenty-six million Americans now have diabetes. The first lady, Michelle Obama, tours the country encouraging a healthy lifestyle and proper diet," said Clyde.

For further information, call 1-800-diabetes or visit diabetes.org. "This is a growing epidemic," Clyde reminded.