Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Diagnosed With Leukemia

Kareem Abdul-JabbarKareem Abdul-Jabbar has leukemia, although he claims his long-term outlook is good.  Abdul-Jabbar in an interview on Monday revealed that he has Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that produces cancerous blood cells.  The disease was diagnosed in December, and he has been treating it with a variety of methods.

Abdul-Jabbar, who made headlines recently with his gaffe on Jeopardy, was one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game.  He still holds the record for most career points.  He played most of his career with the Lakers, although he did spend some time with Milwaukee early on in his career.

Abdul-Jabbar was always well-known for how healthy a lifestyle he lived, even becoming the first professional athletes to take up yoga.  His career went on for 20 years, something that is rarely equaled in today’s NBA, especially with Kareem playing at the high level he did even into those later years of his career.  Clearly he never abused drugs like Agassi and many other great athletes.  He now serves as an assistant for the Lakers, mostly to help young center Andrew Bynum learn how to be a big man in the NBA.

Abdul-Jabbar meant different things to different people.  As part of a younger generation, most people my age were unable to see his amazing feats live.  Regardless, his impact on the NBA (and the college game for that matter) will always be remembered.  He helped usher in the new era of the NBA beginning with Magic and Bird.  Not only did he bridge the old and new eras, but he did it with class and style.

Although cancer is very serious, we shouldn’t talk about Abdul-Jabbar like he is gone.  He and his doctors seem to think he will be okay long-term and he has overcome obstacles in his life before.  Our prayers are with him.

Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has leukemia – [LATimes]

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