Chris Dudley was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 16 while living in San Diego. He was a sophomore in high school and was diagnosed soon after his basketball season was over. Chris was devastated and one of his biggest fears was not being able to play the sport he loved which was basketball. Thanks to a supportive health care team, Chris was not only able to play basketball again but went to the pinnacle of the sport and played in the NBA. Chris played 16 years in the league with diabetes where many players only last for a few years due to the intense competition to make an NBA squad.
Chris started a non-profit Foundation in 1994 for people living with diabetes. The Foundation was a way Chris could help to ensure kids follow their dreams. In 1996, he started the internationally renowned basketball camp and provided many basketball clinics throughout the country in an effort to educate, inspire and empower kids to live active with diabetes. Chris often talks about how he has diabetes but diabetes doesn’t have him. That is something he expresses at his camps and clinics.
Chris was fortunate enough to be recognized during his playing career receiving the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1996 and the USA Today’s most Caring Athlete Award in 1997 due to his work with the foundation. There have been many other prestigious awards that recognize his community involvement and diabetes advocacy in support of education and research.
Chris never let diabetes destroy his dreams and continues to share his experiences of living active with diabetes. One of his former NBA coaches had this to say about Chris. “Chris Dudley epitomizes everything an NBA player should be. He worked extremely hard. He shared his gift of being a pro basketball player with children in the community and did tremendous work with pediatric diabetes. Chris always sacrificed for the good of the team. In my time in the NBA, there is no better role model for children than Chris Dudley, who persevered over all odds to have an outstanding NBA career. It was a pleasure to coach him in New York and the NBA is going to miss him,” said Houston Rockets Head Coach Jeff Van Gundy.