Weight loss saved Cedric Ceballos' life

Cedrid Ceballos and Grant Hill will be participating in a charity bowling event Sunday. Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images

Cedric Ceballos spent a lifetime getting into shape for his 11 NBA seasons. But it was his exercise, conditioning and a 30-pound weight loss before playing for the ABA’s Arizona Scorpions last season that may have saved his life.

Ceballos suffered a series of small heart attacks during and after a game with the Scorpions on Nov. 27. Only 42 at the time, Ceballos underwent an angioplasty and had stents inserted to open two blocked arteries. A part owner of the Scorpions, Ceballos said Friday that his health is back at “1,000 percent” thanks to his doctors, rehabilitation and his overall physical fitness when stricken. But his semi-pro playing days are over. “I don’t know if there’s ever a perfect time to have a heart attack, but my timing was great,” he said. “I hadn’t played in a while, and the weight just came off once I started getting ready.”

Ceballos, who is also the in-game emcee for the Phoenix Suns, is teaming with HOOPS2HEAL to host “Super Bowl Sunday” in Phoenix this weekend. Several of the city’s current and former NBA and NFL stars (including Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Kurt Warner and Charles Barkley) are scheduled to attend and knock down pins to raise money for various youth athletic programs.

Barkley’s recent weight loss, spotlighted on his Weight Watchers TV campaign, remains a relief and inspiration to Ceballos, who checked in at 6-foot-7, 220 pounds during his 609-game NBA career. “Man, I’m so happy for the guy. I love him so much, with the fact that the Weight Watchers kicked it in,” said Ceballos, who played with Barkley in Phoenix for two seasons and in the 1993 NBA Finals. “I would see him, hear him and feel him just getting bigger. And I knew it was the danger zone for him. The guy is such a hard worker and he committed himself to working just as hard once he decided to lose the weight. He looks great.”

And now it's on to bowling on Sunday.

Ceballos, who once rolled a 267, gives the NFL stars the nod over his NBA brethren. “The Suns are focused on their playoff run,” he said. “The Cardinals are gearing up to beat us. Their intensity level is high. ... They’ll have an edge.”

Tickets for Sunday’s event at Phoenix’s Let It Roll Bowl (8925 N. 12th St.) will be available at the door. It begins at 4 p.m. For more information, email ccfgive@gmail.com or text 310-425-6544.