Cavaliers’ Caris LeVert ‘Grateful To Still Be Playing’ Following Kidney Cancer Surgery

During an interview with NBA reporter Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Caris LeVert said he’s “grateful to still be playing” basketball. 

NBA, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cavs, Caris LeVert
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LeVert underwent kidney cancer surgery more than three years ago.

“Obviously, I’m grateful to still be playing basketball, to be honest with you,” LeVert said. “It was something that was super unexpected. It just gave me perspective as to how lucky I am to be doing this for a living.”

On January 25, 2021, LeVert had surgery to treat a renal cell carcinoma of his left kidney. The swingman was playing for the Indiana Pacers at the time. 

“The toughest day was probably the day after surgery,” LeVert said. “I got through it with the help of family and friends. I just knew that [the pain] wasn’t going to be forever. … I don’t necessarily look at it as why did it happen to me. [I] try to find the silver lining through it. If there is anything you can learn, it’s that you can learn from anything that happens to you. Just stay positive. [I] never let my situation get you down.”

LeVert has appeared in 63 games for the Cavaliers this season. He’s averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists while shooting 41.4% from the field, 31.8% from beyond the arc and 75.5% from the free-throw line. 

“He’s been extremely important to us because of his versatility, his willingness to sacrifice and come off the bench because he’s an NBA starter,” Cavaliers head coach JB Bickerstaff told Andscape. “It changes the dynamic of what we’re able to do with our second unit. His minutes versus second-unit guys typically gives us an advantage. He’s bought into being our best one-on-one defensive players. So, he helps us finish games because we can put him in and he can play both defensive and offensive lineups.

“He’s really bought into sharing the basketball. Again, for a guy who’s been a scorer for a lot of his career, he’s bought into being selfless and sharing the ball.”

The 29-year-old LeVert was the 20th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Michigan. The Ohio native has career averages of 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists with the Brooklyn Nets, Pacers and Cavaliers. 

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