Ernie Johnson’s Cancer Battles Became Easier After 1 Brave Decision: “When I Started Swelling Up…”

Published 01/31/2024, 11:55 AM EST

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Boasting 46 years of a stellar broadcasting career, Ernie Johnson is undoubtedly one of the most talented sports analysts. The TNT host’s 2023 Hall of Fame induction is a testimony to his incredible skills. While Johnson has established quite a legacy in the sports world, his accomplishments in his personal life cannot be overlooked either.

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Having faced a deadly disease such as cancer twice, Johnson has indeed been through a lot. Having gained significant insight during the tough journey, the 67-year-old warrior was recently asked to share his wisdom with the world. The father of 6 recently appeared in an episode of the “Point Forward” podcast, hosted by 4x NBA Champion Andre Iguodala and Ex-Celtics star Evan Turner.

Dealing with a life-threatening illness such as cancer is never easy and for Ernie Johnson, the difficulty was two-fold. Johnson was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2003 but he did not let the obstacle deter him from doing his job as a broadcaster. Johnson initially managed to keep the news under wraps, letting only a handful of people know. However, things changed for him in 2006, two years after the diagnosis when he realized he could no longer keep the news hidden.

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Recalling the painful memory, Johnson narrated the nerve-wracking event to co-hosts Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner. He said, “It wasn’t until 2006 when I started swelling up, my lymph nodes and that kind of thing.”

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Ernie Johnson advocates for complete transparency

Having anticipated the questions that he would eventually have to answer, Johnson decided to reveal his diagnosis to the world. He said, “Look, people are inviting you into their homes every night. And when something doesn’t look right, people are going to notice. And I thought the best way to handle that was just honestly say, ‘Look, this is what is going on. I’ve had this for a while now, we’ve taken an approach of waiting to see what direction it’s going to take and I’m going to start chemotherapy in June’.”

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Johnson notes how the transparency proved to be a good decision for him and his family. The six-time Emmy Awardee then went on to win his second battle after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2019.

Fast forward to 2024, the veteran sportscaster was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement award, proving once again that no illness can stop Ernie Johnson.

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Written by:

Siyari Debbarma

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Siyari Debbarma is a senior NBA writer at EssentiallySports. With over 700 articles under her belt, Siyari is an expert in providing in-depth analysis and coverage of the game. Her throwback article on Dennis Rodman's plea for help garnered more than 3.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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