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Former Blazer Brian Grant opens up about addiction, battle with Parkinson's in new book about his life

Grant's new book 'Rebound,' shares some brutally honest insight into his life before, during and after his playing days in the NBA.

PORTLAND, Ore. — “I had my doubts during the process,” says newly published author and former Blazers' great, Brian Grant, speaking about his new book that came out this week. 

He says he asked himself many times, “Do I really want to talk about this?”

“This” refers to his life, and Brian managed to pack it into 356 pages that detail the good, the bad and the self-destructive moments that helped shape who he is, from before his days in the NBA to the present.

The book’s official title is “Rebound: Soaring in the NBA, Battling Parkinson’s, and Finding What Really Matters”.  It went on sale on both real and digital bookshelves on Tuesday.

Fans of Brian Grant have said for years that they loved the way he played basketball, specifically the way he faced some of the NBA’s biggest and best stars, like Shaquille O’Neil and Karl Malone, head-on.

Credit: AP Images

It’s been 15 years now since he last played in the NBA, and more than 10 years since he was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

In many ways, he has faced that challenge head-on, too, starting the Brian Grant Foundation to help other people, like him, who are dealing with the devastating disease.

It would have been very easy to paint himself as a hero in this new book, but that’s not the approach Brian took. 

Instead, he enlisted the help of someone he trusted in longtime basketball writer and TV analyst Ric Bucher. The self-portrait shows that everything Grant’s been able to accomplish on the outside has come while fighting off demons on the inside.

Bucher says Brian’s goal with the book was simple.  “[He] wants you to know the entire story, and then, if you’re still in his corner, then good!”

“I could have very easily came out with a book that was fluffy, you know roses, things have been great,” says Grant, “but I didn’t want to do that.”

Credit: Brian Grant

“The world and my community that I live in, they knew the good stories.  Now it was time for them to digest the bad stories, as well,” he continued.

So I asked Brian to share one thing he talks about in the book that was really difficult for him to open up about.  He paused for a few seconds, before answering with, “definitely my infidelity to Gina, my first wife.”

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“I’d meet a lot of people and a lot of them thought that she left me because I had Parkinson’s, but no way, you know?  She deserved to leave and find a happy place for herself in life.”

The search for happiness in his own life has had plenty of other setbacks, too. 

“Rebound” covers, in great detail, Brian’s long battle with alcohol and drug addiction.

Credit: Brian Grant

And then, of course, there’s his ongoing battle with Parkinson’s, a disease that has taken its toll on Brian both physically and mentally.

“I think the toughest part is being in my own head,” he says, before sharing a recent story that explains exactly what he meant by that.

“I got my first Covid shot, and I’m standing in this line that’s like Disneyland, you know, it was that long.  So, I’m starting to shake and I get self-conscious, but the things that go on in my head, I think that’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with.”

“His identity was his gregarious personality and his tremendous physical gifts,” adds Bucher.  “Parkinson’s takes away those two things, and he had to find a way to deal with that, and he has, and that is the most remarkable aspect, I believe, of Brian’s life.”