the financial support they needed?
An NBA paycheck would mean nearly
$2 million a year in guaranteed income for
three years. His mother, Minnie, had begun
battling breast cancer in 1994, only to be
diagnosed with diabetes during Stack-
house's sophomore year at UNC.
His father, George, who also is a dia-
betic, was providing for his family with 4
a.m. shifts as a sanitation truck driver back
home. Minnie continued to work as a min-
ister and short-order cook even while bat-
tling cancer and diabetes.
Mter consulting with Dean Smith,
Stackhouse decided the time was right to
While he excelled in the league, his
fanUly's struggles with diabetes continued
to haunt him. Particularly difficult was
dealing with the loss of his sister, Delores
Meadows, who died from complications
from the disease in 1999.
At an early age, Stackhouse had become
acquainted with the sight of blood and
needles. He also came to grips with the
grim, long-term realities of living with the
disease. Another sister,Jean Dawson, died
from diabetes-related complications while
he was in high school. And because of his
fanUly's history with the disease, Stackhouse
lived in constant fear of the likelihood he
would develop it one day.
He decided he wanted to use his gifts to
make a difference in the world. He created
the Triple Threat Foundation, an organiza-
tion committed to research, care and edu-
cation programs for diabetics. The name is
a reference to Stackhouse's skills at shoot-
ing, passing and dribbling on the court.
"I think people see my angry scowl and
how 1 act when I play and assum.e I'm a
hard guy," Stackhouse said. "They're sur-
prised to see that I'm human. 1 have feel-
ings.... I want to use myself and what's
around me to help others."
In 1999, Stackhouse returned to the
Smith Center where he used to dazzle fans
and opponents alike - this time to please
his two biggest fans. George and Minnie
finally were going to see their son receive
his diploma for a degree in African-Ameri-
"I don't think I have ever had a feeling
after a big game like I felt after that last
sociology exam," he said. ''I'm more proud
of this than anything 1 have ever accom-
plished on the basketball court. This is sim-
ilar to wi=ing a championship. It's rare."
Stackhouse continued to lend his name
to championing diabetes-related causes.
Shortly after he was traded from the
Detroit Pistons to the Washington Wizards
in 2002, he addressed the Congressional
Diabetes Caucus on Capitol Hill in a ses-
sion to introduce legislation for care, edu-
cation, prevention and treatment of the dis-
ease among minority conul1unities.
Educating minority communities is of spe-
cial interest to Stackhouse; 13 percent of all
adult African-Americans suffer from type 1
or type 2 (also known as adult-onset) dia-
In 2002, he helped organize the first
a=ual World's Greatest Alumni Game, a
reunion of hoops luminaries from. UNC's
history. Over the past three years, former
stars such as Vince Carter ' 99, Antawn
Januson ' 99, Sam. Perkins ' 84 and Rasheed
Wallace ' 97 have returned to compete in
the event. Proceeds from the game benefit
the Am.erican Diabetes Association and the
Triple Threat Foundation.
"There's so much love and support
here, it's always great to come back to
Chapel Hill," Stackhouse said. "Some of
these guys are like my big brothers, and I
don't know of any other progranl that has
these kinds of relationships."This year's
game raised more than $100,000.
Although Stackhouse's parents shy from
media attention, they are proud of the way
he has followed their example of hard
work and dedication. It's the same deter-
nuned effort that pushes them on in their
daily fight against a disease that afflicts
nearly 18. 2 n1illion people worldwide.
"I've been able to touch a lot of people
on and off the court, and I think I have
made a difference in some lives," Stack-
house said. "IfI reach two or three kids,
then I'm doing what I'm supposed to do."
Keeping The Tradition...
Patty Ward Hendrix ' 83
Direct Line: 704.602.4257
A luxury European boutique hotel
CAR.O LINA ALUM N IREV l EW
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