Kenny Anderson’s road to recovery after a stroke nearly killed him

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Former NBA player Kenny Anderson details life after having a stroke and the road the recovery.

Nashville Tennessean

The former NBA all-star, now head basketball coach at Fisk, wants to continue mentoring young men: ‘Man, I ain’t done yet — I haven’t even started’

Story Highlights

  • The stroke came right after his first season as Fisk head coach ended
  • His dog may have saved his life
  • Assistant coaches, administrators and Fisk players rallied around him and his recovery

When his wife didn’t answer her phone, Kenny Anderson, slightly panicked, shouted for his teenage daughter.

“Tiana! Tiana!”

Anderson started to lose vision in his right eye as his face drooped. With slurred speech, Anderson kept calling for his daughter, but her bedroom door was closed.

The family dog, Caleb, scratched on his daughter’s door repeatedly until she opened it — right around the same time Anderson lost his balance and fell back against the wall.

Tiana Anderson knew from a recent health class what was happening.

She calmly told her father to lay down and called 911: “I need an ambulance right away. My dad is having a stroke.”

Anderson’s wife, Natasha, rushed back to the house from the gym and rode in the ambulance to the hospital Feb. 23 last year.

Several doctors — including a neurologist, a stroke specialist and a cardiologist — were outside waiting.

“They pull him out, and I walk up to him and I can see the droopiness in his right side. His eyes are closed. And he was trying to talk to me, but it was very slurred,” Natasha Anderson said.

She understood one thing he said: “Am I going to be OK?”

A tear fell down the side of his face.

Kenny Anderson, a former NBA All-Star who’d just finished his first season as Fisk University’s head basketball coach, was about to start a fight.

A fight to walk and to talk again. A fight to coach again. A fight to continue to mentor the young men he grew to love in that first season.

Anderson, 49, knows how to fight. He already overcame other obstacles in his life and career.

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