Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Goes One-On-One With Cancer

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one of basketball’s all-time greatest players, announced that he has cancer. In an effort to help people understand his disease, the sports legend made the public disclosure nearly a year after being diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia.

“Having lost one of my closest friends to a different, highly aggressive form of leukemia, I knew how serious my diagnosis was,” said Abdul-Jabbar, 62. “My own life expectancy became a question mark.”

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers before retiring in 1989. He was diagnosed with CML in December 2008 and is being treated with a medicine that targets the abnormal protein that causes his leukemia. With treatment, Abdul-Jabbar, who currently is a coach with the Lakers, is expected to live a full, active life.

The intensely private Abdul-Jabbar, a father of five, said he came forward after learning many patients don’t regularly take their medication and skip appointments to the doctor.