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Clippers Players pay for coaches cancer surgery


NBA players live in the public eye, but several Los Angeles Clippers managed to quietly pay for a coach's life-saving operation seven years ago. Their good deed only recently came to light.

Kim Hughes, then assistant coach to the Clippers, learned he had prostate cancer in September 2004. His doctor wanted to do surgery a few months down the road, a schedule that didn't jibe with the team's schedule.

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Kim Hughes, formerly a coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, had his cancer surgery paid for by members of the team.

Clippers head coach Mike Dunleavy, now retired, suggested another doctor, who agreed to perform the surgery in a week's time. But Clippers management refused to cover the operation.

Several Clippers, including Corey Maggette (now with the Bucks), Chris Kaman, Elton Brand (now with the Philadelphia 76ers) and Marko Jaric (now playing in Italy), paid for the surgery.

"Kim was one of our coaches, and he's a really good friend of mine, too," Maggette told the Racine, Wis., Journal Times. "He was in a situation where the Clippers' medical coverage wouldn't cover his surgery. I thought it was a great opportunity to help someone in need, to do something that Christ would do.

"It shows your humanity, that you care for other people and not just yourself. Kim was in a life-and-death situation," Maggette said.

A biopsy revealed that Hughes' cancer was aggressive and threatening other parts of his body.

"Those guys saved my life," Hughes said. "They paid the whole medical bill. It was like $70,000 or more. It wasn't cheap.

"It showed you what classy people they are," he said. "They didn't want me talking about it; they didn't want the recognition because they simply felt it was the right thing to do."

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