Art of Aging: Former NBA player, World B. Free's message to seniors

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Navigating healthcare can be daunting. But a former professional athlete is helping to spread the word to seniors that help is available and their health is important.

Former NBA player World B. Free knows how to captivate a crowd.

He got drafted in 1975 and spent 13 years in the NBA, four of those with the 76ers.

"We went to the finals in '77, I had a lot of fun," he said.

But a personal health crisis set the 65-year-old on a new path.

"I had a heart attack a couple years ago. As an athlete we don't think that anything can happen to us you know, we think we're invincible," said Free.

World has now teamed up with Oak Street Health, encouraging seniors to be advocates for their own health.

"You can move around, you can do it. Life is not promised to us, so get healthy," said Free.

"People respond to World B. Free because he's genuine. He speaks from the heart," said Amyn Andharia, Division President of PA and RI, Oak Street Health.

The YMCA offers a number of exercise classes suitable for older adults and many health care plans will cover the cost of membership for seniors.

Ronna Kassel, Executive Director, West Philadelphia YMCA said, "It's very exciting to have someone who was an athlete and is continuing his journey to be healthy."

World hopes his words will encourage seniors to take action and that his presence will make a difference to the community.

"If you try that's it, that's all we need. I never stay stationary, always move.

You think that everything is fine get yourself checked

World wants seniors to know they can get the care they deserve.

Melvin Prosser of West Philadelphia said, "It means a lot, we need this, yeah, and I'm going to spread the word."

"It meant a lot. It will help the whole neighborhood," added Sembrosa Anderson of West Philadelphia.

"The little things in life are the big things," said Free.
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