Men's Basketball

Chris Lofton’s cancer battle remains inspiration for charity

Tennessee’s Chris Lofton shot over Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper during a game in Knoxville in 2008. Lofton scored 2,131 points during his four seasons as a Volunteer and was named SEC Player of the Year in 2006-07.
Tennessee’s Chris Lofton shot over Kentucky’s Derrick Jasper during a game in Knoxville in 2008. Lofton scored 2,131 points during his four seasons as a Volunteer and was named SEC Player of the Year in 2006-07. AP

The colors might have changed, but former Tennnessee and Mason County star Chris Lofton remains the inspiration for a charity aimed at helping people diagnosed with cancer.

A story by Jeff Shearer on AuburnTigers.com recounts Lofton’s cancer diagnosis after his junior year for the Volunteers. Lofton failed a drug test after the 2007 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16.

“The doctor outlined three possibilities: steroids, pregnancy or testicular cancer,” Shearer wrote. “I was cheering for pregnant,” his former coach at Tennessee, Bruce Pearl, joked.

Lofton, who now plays professionally in France, beat cancer and inspired “O-UT-LIVE,” a charity that raised cancer screening awareness and raised money to support cancer patients. Pearl has brought the idea with him to Auburn. Now dubbed AUTLIVE, its cause will be highlighted in Auburn’s student section with T-shirts for its 5 p.m. game versus LSU on Saturday.

“At first, I was very reluctant about doing it,” Lofton told AuburnTigers.com. “I didn’t want to talk about it, but the more I thought about it and prayed about it, I knew there were people in my situation who needed encouragement, so I felt like I had to be there for other people and I quit thinking about myself.”

Lofton returns to Kentucky occasionally during his breaks in Europe and was in Lexington this month working out with Operation Athlete owner and trainer Ted Butler.

Lofton was Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball in 2004, after leading Mason County to back-to-back Sweet Sixteen title games. The Royals won the title in 2003. He later went on to become an All-American for the Volunteers and the 2007 SEC Player of the Year. He went undrafted by the NBA but has been a professional in Europe for a decade.

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