Rod Hundley, the iconic former broadcaster for the Utah Jazz, is suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Hundley, 79, lives in Arizona with his partner, Kim Reardon. She told The Salt Lake Tribune this week that the disease has progressed to a “moderate” stage.
Hundley no longer speaks to large groups, Reardon said. But they plan to attend festivities in Utah next week, when the Jazz will honor former coach Jerry Sloan.
According to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, the disease is “a progressive, degenerative disorder that attacks the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons, resulting in loss of memory, thinking and language skills, and behavioral changes.”
Hundley has lived in Arizona since retiring after the 2008-09 season. He started as the TV and radio voice of the expansion New Orleans Jazz in 1974 after working for the Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and CBS.
In 1979, Hundley followed the team to Utah, where he became one of the most recognizable faces of the franchise for the next three decades.
Hundley handed over his TV duties to current play-by-play announcer Craig Bolerjack prior to the 2005-06 season. But he remained on the radio for another four years.
In 2003, Hundley received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Hundley was a star basketball player at West Virginia. During his three-year career, he averaged 24.5 points and 10.6 rebounds. He was a two-time All-American who became the No. 1 overall pick in the 1957 NBA Draft.
Hundley was selected by Cincinnati but immediately traded to the Minneapolis Lakers. A two-time All-Star, he spent his entire six-year playing career in Minneapolis and Los Angeles, where the Lakers moved prior to the 1960-61 season.