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The DX Diabetes Dish: Gary Forbes

Pro basketball star on life with type 1 diabetes

Gary Forbes, a professional basketball player from Brooklyn, New York, has played for the Denver Nuggets and Toronto Raptors. Born in Panama, Forbes was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of nineteen and has a family history of T1. Most recently Forbes played for the Springfield Armor, an NBA development league affiliate of the Brooklyn Nets, where he led the team in scoring before being sidelined with a knee injury that required surgery. He initially kept his diagnosis a secret, concerned that it would affect his career prospects, but he now is an outspoken advocate and founder of the Gary Forbes Foundation, which helps teens and young adults who are at risk of or are living with diabetes by providing emotional support and helpful information about living with diabetes. The Foundation created a website,, which includes sports, music, entertainment and information about health and encourages young adults, whether affected by type 1 or type 2 diabetes, to live healthier lives. The DX recently caught up with the inspiring Forbes.

What is your state of mind about diabetes today?

When it comes to diabetes, my state of mind is that I feel it’s a disease quite simple to maintain if taken seriously, and if you take the time to adjust your diet and exercise.

What three words would you use to describe who you are?

Optimist. Conservative. Consistent.

Forbes_fbHow does diabetes change – or not change – who you are?  

Diabetes does not change who you are; it may change a small part of your lifestyle.

What inspires you to do what you do? 

My family inspires me to do what I do, as well as my own eagerness to achieve high goals.

What do you appreciate most in your friends?

The thing that I appreciate most about my friends is their loyalty.

What would you pack for your favorite vacation and where would you go? 

I would pack all the essential toiletry products (toothbrush, toothpaste, cocoa butter, etc.), my insulin, a bunch of basketball shorts, Calvin Klein® T-shirts, flip-flops and maybe some sneakers. My destination would be the Maldives.

What’s in your refrigerator right now? 

Right now it contains green apples, water, soy milk, cheese, organic eggs, turkey bacon, chicken breast cold cuts, cranberry juice, honey mustard and ketchup.

What is your favorite way to relieve stress?

My favorite way to relieve stress is to go to the gym and shoot basketballs.

What is your idea of happiness? 

My idea of happiness is to be comfortable and at ease with whatever it is that truly makes me happy. Everyone’s definition may be different because “happiness” means something different to each person. I’m simple.

What do you most dislike?

A dirty house!

What’s your favorite diabetes management tip?

Check your sugar levels frequently.

What words do you try to live by?

The words I live by are carpe diem (seize the day) and carpe omnia (seize it all)!

What is your greatest fear?

The open sea.

What is your greatest extravagance?

My Calvin Klein® undergarments.

On what occasion do you lie?

When I’m afraid the truth may hurt the other party involved.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?

I wish my family was a little bit closer, emotionally. I wish we had more reunions and such.

Who are your heroes in real life?

My heroes are my older brother, Anthony, and my parents.

What would you choose for your favorite meal?


What are you looking forward to right now?

I’m mostly looking forward to rehabbing from knee surgery and getting back into the NBA!

While you are living with type 1 diabetes, what’s your message for those living with type 2 diabetes?

My message to people with type 2 diabetes is to do your research. Don’t be naive about what type 2 diabetes is because it is serious. But with the right knowledge, it is manageable.

Any last words of wisdom to our readers? 

Laugh and love.

All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the interviewee and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies, or affiliates.

© 2014 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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