Brian Custer’s start in this world wasn’t a smooth one. The Showtime host never met his dad, who died in a car accident while Brian was in his mom’s womb. And while fate has smiled upon Custer professionally — he does the Showtime boxing gig and also handles basketball and football duties for other outlets — he wasn’t given a reprieve from tough travels after tragedy touched his family and his dad was taken from him.
Five years ago, Custer was diagnosed with prostate cancer, he told us on the Everlast “Talkbox” podcast. He’d get periodic tests done after surgery and therapies to defeat the cancer cells, and those tests came back negative. Until they didn’t, and he was thrown into the ring again, to battle the lethal cell invaders.
The smooth vocalizer told us, in gripping detail, how he reacted getting the news from the doctor five years ago, and how his outlook on life changed because cancer entered it.
At the start of the year, Custer was told he needed 39 radiation treatments to attack a recurrence of cancer cells, he told us, and he’s been fortunate to have bosses who are decent souls. Stephen Espinoza, David Dinkins and Gordon Hall told him they had his back, fully.
“These guys are like big brothers, and there’s a part of you, you don’t want to let them down,” he said. Unbeknownst to us, at times when Custer was doing his SHO duties, heading up the analysis team, he’d be feeling the effects of an AM radiation treatment.
“Extreme fatigue is the main side effect of them, and it gives you nausea,” he related. Docs tell you to nap after radiation, but the world keeps turning, and family life is always there, and work duties beckon. Money has to be earned to pay out-sized medical bills, which our for mega-profit health care system manufactures to keep the medical-industrial complex alive and thriving.
The broadcaster got choked up when he told us about how he thinks of his three sons while fighting to stay above ground. Yes, he’d often ask “Why?” He works out like a fiend, eats right — so why him? Unanswerable.
“Sometimes bad shit happens to good people. But out of that bad shit you can be a blessing to others,” he was told by a wise counselor.
His world view, contorted by cancer, is radically different now. People come up to him on a daily basis, and tell him that they went to the doctor for the first time in 20 years, because they listened to him talk about the need to get tested. And his POV is also altered in how he interacts with some of the young gun fighters he comes across.
Like Adrien Broner. Broner had jaws dropping last week when at the final press conference to hype the April 21 he took aim at his promoter, Floyd Mayweather, and said that Team Mayweather was rooting for his foe, Jessie Vargas, over him. Custer was emceeing the Q-and-A portion of the presser and had to contend with Broners’ antics.
He told us that, indeed, he took Broner aside after, and gave him his three cents. I get paid the same no matter if you win or lose, son, so when you are referring to the deck being stacked against you, be aware that isn’t so.
“Adrien feels there is a persona he’s created that he has to live up to,” Custer said.
So did Broner take it in, listen, and will he maybe learn from their chat? Listen to Custer’s take here, as he shares what he said to Broner after the fighter meeting, about his behavior at the presser. Hint: Custer showed a different side of his personality, one not really evident in the actions of a smooth and polite and upbeat presence as a host. “Stop blaming everybody else” was the real talk summation offered by Custer.
Saturday night was quite eventful, as a rumor ricocheted around the building that someone had been shot at inside Barclays. Was Custer aware of that? He said on “Talkbox” that producers told him that something happened, and to be ready if NYPD declares that security measures need to be upticked. They chose not to inform the audience, and feed into any possible hysteria or excessive worry, he said, but he had to be ready to shift gears and into news reporter mode if need be.
Check out the whole interview, Custer is candid and brave in sharing details of his cancer fight.