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Former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt and Greek club Olympiacos have agreed to part ways following Blatt’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis, the organization announced in a news release.
“It is a difficult moment for everyone as we part ways with a great coach, but most of all a wonderful person,” Olympiacos’ statement read. “We have had the honor to work with one of the biggest figures of world basketball and we have gained a lot from his presence in our team.
“David Blatt has served the club consistently, courageously and selflessly in a crucial moment for Olympiacos. He has supported our club on every single decision we had to make.”
Blatt announced in August he was suffering from MS. At the time of the announcement, Blatt said he had been suffering from MS for several months.
Blatt said he’s known about the diagnosis for several months.
“Sometimes life hands you things, that in real life have no rhyme or reason,” Blatt said. “These are the moments that force to make choices that will test your true character.
“This disease has many forms and acts out differently for every person. It’s an autoimmune disease that can really change in many ways your ability to do even the simplest things that used to seem normal.”
Blatt, 60, coached the Cavaliers to the Finals in his lone full NBA season, which coincided with LeBron James’ return to Cleveland in 2014-15.
He was fired despite a 30-11 record midway through the following year. Blatt was 83-40 overall in his two years with the Cavs.
That was his lone experience coaching in the NBA, though he has had great success overseas, coaching Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Euroleague championship in 2013-14. Olympiacos finished 15-15 last season.
Blatt said the MS has caused his legs to occasionally “give out.”
“Fatigue, balance and strength are real issues for me,” Blatt said. “I’ve started a special treatment for muscular strengthening and balance, as well as swimming and water exercises in order to improve my physicality.
“I try to be more active, even when it comes to small moves. I challenge myself to do simple functions that are easy for mostly everyone, but very demanding for me in most occasions. I’m working on it. I sustain and expect more for myself, not less.
“Why did this happen? The reason why one should suffer from this disease is unknown. As there was no specific reason or justification, what is left is to accept it and focus on how to make things better with the existing resources. It’s easy to fall into the pit of depression and inaction. This battle is real, continuous and never-ending, as there is no treatment for this disease. Though, it’s not life-threatening. There are people who have to face greater challenges and battle their own war.”