In this MM+M Fast Break, Jack O’Brien talks with former NBA All Star and Kentucky Wildcats legend Jamal Mashburn about working with Exact Sciences on the company’s Box Out Colon Cancer campaign.

He discusses his personal connection to colorectal cancer, his involvement in the awareness push and his Final Four predictions.

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Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

This is Jack O’Brien with an M&M fast break our conversation with former NBA All-Star, Jamal Mashburn and his partnership with the exact Sciences. Hi Jamal, how are you doing? I’m doing well. How are you doing? I’m doing wonderful. It’s a pleasure to have you on awesome. Awesome. Good talk to you looking forward to this for a number of reasons. We did a number of campaign coverage for colorectal cancer talk to me a little bit about the work with exact Sciences. What all has gone into the campaign. Yeah. So yeah, I’m teaming up with exact science is to in the who had Foundation to challenge everyone to 45 year old he gets screen for colon cancer. And for me, it’s personal in nature. My mom dealt with colon cancer back in 2000 and 2001 when I became a NBA All-Star for the first time. I was having successful on the court but then off the court, my mother was dealing with that obstacle not only is being the the person with colon cancer, but I was all the caregivers and I’m the only child and I watched a go through a lot of different things and the healthcare system which opened my eyes to you know, screening and wonder if we would have had the information early she was in remission for 18 years lived a wonderful life actually passed away pre-covid in february from a heart issue. So, you know, it’s something that touches me and I have his personal experience with it. And I just want to share this the platform with others to go get screened at the people at a 45 years and older. Giving that you have this personal experience with colon cancer. A lot of the people I’ve spoken with talk about how it really is kind of underrepresented in terms of the other cancers people know breast cancer and other sorts of cancer. So well, what is that experience like with colon cancer? What do people maybe not fully understand about the disease the thing that I didn’t understand about the disease from my experience with my mom is that you know, my mom walked into a an emergency room and she just thought she had a stomach ailment, you know, and and and then it progressed after more tests that she had colon cancer. And so that was a shock and then all to watch her my mom was father 11 and she can carry around 200 pounds and then when I went and saw her in a hospital, she was still five eleven, but she was 110 pounds. So just the physical just seeing that physical change and and just that part of it the spiritual and emotional and mental part of it that was difficult as well to deal with and And what my mother was blessed with at the time was she got a chance to get to doctors who really personally cared about her and showed her love and affection and she was more than just a number on a chart or a piece of paper. And I imagine it has to be equally as frustrating and other thing that I’ve seen in terms of covering colon cancer is just how preventable it can be which I think makes it even more meaningful for this campaign the fact that if you get tested and diagnosed early enough, there is a high likelihood that you can survive and go back to living, you know, a normal life at that regard. Yeah colon cancer is the most preventable but the least prevented cancer. So and then also a part of this particular partnership and what I’m doing is exact science is in the blue hat Foundation is also to start the conversation around it I think too is especially being a black male, you know, I don’t have conversations about health and wellness unless it’s on The Superficial level with my friends and my peers and different things like that. So there are other things as you get older me being 50 one that you know, we have to be a little bit more candid about conversations around health and expressly black males as well because we’re 20% more likely to get colon cancer and for 40 Spent more likely to die from it than other groups. So the conversation needs to be put on the table and had and stop being, you know refrain from having a conversation if that makes sense. And I’m curious about that too because you’ve obviously been going through this for the past month in terms of leading this campaign and being a very public figure what has been the response to having somebody of your stature coming out there and saying hey like this is an issue. We have to be having these conversations. Was that feedback been like that’s a great question and you know, you know oftentimes when I do things I don’t often think about you know, I think about the impact but you don’t really realize the impact until personal stories start to arrive in your inbox. And that’s the beauty of social media. You know, I’ve been getting direct messages of people who are telling me their stories of how they were impacted by colon cancer either themselves or through parents and and how much they appreciate me sharing my story as well and all so it’s been very interesting is some of the reporters on the sports side and radio side, you know, when they’re interviewing me their stories as well of how they’ve been impacted by a colon cancer the family members or their own personal story, so Feedback has been tremendous more than I expected. You know, I basically wanted to share my personal story of how I dealt with it and also get people to get screened and a 45 years and older and deliver that message but the feedback has been tremendous and and I’m thrilled that I can be doing a good deed and my mother’s name. Absolutely. Now it’s it speaks volumes to your character and what you’ve been able to bring to this cause I’m curious too. You’re I know that you’re in Phoenix. Is there any sort of activations that you’re going to be doing around the final four is it relates to exact Sciences? I know you’re working with other people in the college basketball Community throughout the month. Yeah, you know, we worked with head coaches and different things like that. Tommy Lloyd Speedy class and from Hofstra Robert Jones from Norfolk State and leaving Godly that USC to deliver the message as well around this basketball experience. We’re going to do you know radio role at the convention center of that always be a highlight. I mean you get a lot of people that want to engage me to talk about, you know, my basketball history in college and professional but they’re also aware of why I’m there as well. You know, that’s going to be the activation to pull people in to have the conversation. So there’s a lot going around it. We’ve done a satellite media tour in the past. The hit local stations and different things like that throughout the US and so it’s been a great activation event. And as I said earlier, you know, my inbox inbox on my social media Instagram and and my Twitter which is X now has been blown up with, you know, congratulatory and all so sharing other stories that that people have been impacted by colon cancer. I’m curious for the sake of our audience their primarily, you know medical marketers and they represent Health Brands like exact Sciences curious. If you had any sort of message you want to relate to them in terms of maybe how to you know, better communicate around this disease or maybe where you’d like to see Improvement in terms of Outreach as it relates to colon cancer sometimes, you know, you think about the celebrity or the people that make an impact or have a great name. You know, what I would like to see is more people who are in a normal Walk of Life have the conversations to deliver the messages as well. Sometimes it’s great to have a celebrity or a spokesperson or influence or deliver the message to get the word out to spark the conversation, but we need all people to be a part of the conversation to tell real life stories of how they’ve been impacted and kind of put a human not more or less of a human and a common face to it and every day face to it. So I would like to see more of that more participation on that level to deliver the message or continue the messaging as we move forward. Talk about colon cancer screening you’re so right that there’s a value in having those patient influencers be able to relate their own experiences for that that wider Community. That’s out there. I think that’s a point. Well taken I would be remiss if you know I have you here for the conversation. I know a lot of it on colon cancer, but I have to ask since you’re in Phoenix for the final four, you know, what your who I guess who you think is going to win but maybe who you’re rooting for as well since you’re there for the final four, you know, one thing about me is that you know, playing basketball and having the pleasure of participating in the final four. I think it was in 1993 and the New Orleans and I know what it means for the 14th that are here and in understanding the experience that they’re going through at this particular time. It’s a challenge with all the media requests the family members the excitement around it and then you have to go out there and perform when everybody’s watching you and you’re the final four teams that remain in college basketball. So for me, I’m always conscious of the student athlete and what they’re going through. I’ve watched a Yukon play in the Big East tournament all in the championship game last year. I think UConn has a great opportunity to do something special by repeating. I don’t think they have a lot of holes in their game and then you look on the other side with Purdue and this 75 Centennial exact Eddie. He’s a phenomenal talent and the physical specimens. So there’s a lot of story lines here in an NC State where they’ve come from to get to the final four. They weren’t even picked to actually be in the tournament. They had the win their own ACC tournament to get invited to this thing. So there’s a lot of good stories, but I think you kind of ultimately cut down in the national championships. So I can’t say that I’m rooting for UConn because I went to the University of Kentucky, but I can say I can say that you know, I think Yukons the best team out here of the of the 14 teams and they have the greatest opportunity win the championship. I’m recording this from Massachusetts to your point is well taken about the UConn Huskies and all the love that they have here in New England, but I’m all I really appreciate you being on the on the podcast here and being able to relate your experiences and the work that you’ve been doing for exact science is on this cause. I appreciate you jack. Thanks for having me and thanks for the time.