Jerry Colangelo, who has guided the Suns since the franchise's birth in 1968 and who was inducted into basketball's Hall of Fame in September, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Colangelo, 65, said as far as he knows, the cancer has been confined to the prostate; a test is scheduled in the next days to confirm this. He is scheduled to have his prostate removed Dec. 30 at the renowned Sloan-Kettering cancer institute in New York City.
"I'm at peace," Colangelo said. "I've been blessed in so many ways. I'm not going to feel sorry for myself. I refuse to do that."
Colangelo's PSA readings, the most common gauge to determine prostate problems, had been rising in the past four years. A biopsy then was taken and confirmed he had cancer about a month ago, he said. "Then they immediately bombard you with literature and information," he said.
Surgery now is considered only one of many options, and that, "If I were 75 instead of 65," he might have taken a different treatment option, he said. "But every other way is a real crapshoot," he said.
Moreover, he suggested that once the cancer's presence in the body is known, "You want it out."
Rumors about his condition evidently leaked out recently, he said, and — after some thought — he decided, "You might as well confront it (publicly) and get it over with," he said. After his surgery, the Suns chairman will be hospitalized for a few days, then will move to the St. Regis Hotel in New York City. The hotel is special to him because he and his wife Joan stayed there in his early NBA days.
Colangelo was named the infant club's general manger in 1968, at age 28. He organized a group to buy controlling interest in 1987.
He is in the process of selling the Suns to Robert Sarver, a San Diego banker. The two are running the team in collaborative fashion, though Colangelo has final authority until Sarver takes control in the summer of 2007.