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“Sodium is the big thing I have to avoid, and I’m at the store reading every label now,” he said. In fact, my doctor told me, ‘Make sure you have your seven to 10 beers a week, it’s actually good for you.’ And I was like, ‘Can I have seven this Saturday? “You think Tom’s scar is nasty; his dad’s runs completely top to bottom.’ Uh, no, that’s not how it works.” When an inevitable question arose — what brought this on? So we’re in the middle of genetic testing right now, to find out for sure if all our kids need to be monitored,” she said.It’s just that Tolbert, 52, walks a fine line in his recovery from his surgery, a thoracic aortic dissection. “Then both of my shoulder blades started hurting, and then my chest and throat were throbbing.The odds were heavily against him surviving the initial operation to repair a tear in the body’s largest artery, and he required three subsequent procedures to ward off complications. Be kind to the aorta.” Tolbert was at home watching a Giants baseball game at around 9 p.m. 29 when he suddenly felt pain in both of his temples. I thought I was having a heart attack, so I got on the computer and Googled the symptoms.” Lund said, recalling the sight of a slimmed-down Tolbert. We had to make sure he had a convenient parking place, and sometimes he has to get up during the show to keep the blood circulating. We’ve quit asking about his energy, because it’s always high. “I mean, about two weeks in, he was sitting there making death jokes. He made death funny.” Warriors coach Steve Kerr, a longtime friend dating to their playing days at Arizona, recalled their first conversation after the surgery: “He said, ‘Yeah, I was looking for ways to lose weight. My quads were killing me; I just felt done.” When he woke the following morning, though, there was only a bit of pain. “And I remember needing to get out and walk outside.
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“We learned there’s a mutated genetic gene that causes dissection, and we’re trying to find out everything we can.” As Tolbert sat talking about his future, he dropped his carefree facade.
“I’m so grateful to have my kids, my friends and my wife taking care of every little thing,” he said.
He could have been quite the boastful boor at this stage of his life, having been a high-profile player at the University of Arizona and a seven-year veteran of the NBA, including three memorable seasons as a 6-foot-7 power forward under Warriors coach Don Nelson in the early 1990s.
He’s a rare and endearing brand of talk-show host, combining the authoritative voice of an ex-athlete with a fan’s ceaseless devotion.