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Lionel Hollins campaigns for African-American health

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

In a series of interviews and appearances in Memphis, Lionel Hollins talked this weekend about how Afriican-American men must pay closer attention to their health, particularly when so many of the illnesses and conditions affecting them can be dealt with if caught early and treated.

"Don't let anything get in the way of your health," Hollins, the former Grizzlies coach, told a group at the First Baptist Church. "So much of what the African-American community is dying from is preventable."

Hollins, who's been affected by high blood pressure since his days as a player, noted in particular the high incidence of that and prostate cancer.

"As an an athlete and now as a coach, I have to be very deliberate in my efforts to maintain a healthy blood pressure," he told the audience, one of several he addressed as part of the "Healthy Shelby" campaign. Memphis is part of Shelby County in Tennessee.

Hollins also highlighted to two other issues  that are common to men and African-American men: the pressures of work and the supposed embarrassment of colonoscopies and prostate exams.

Hollins, who still maintains a residence in Memphis, has been part of the campaign the last two years.  He remains popular in the city and used that popularity to appear on local TV and radio.