NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar revealed that he has had a prostate cancer diagnosis, along with leukemia and heart surgery in an op-ed about health challenges facing Black people.
In the article for the online health magazine WebMd, Abdul-Jabbar wrote about the increased risks carried by Blacks for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. He said that he has been fortunate to be able to navigate those challenges, but that others in the community cannot and it puts them at greater risk.
“So far, in keeping with these statistical risks, I’ve had prostate cancer, leukemia, and heart bypass surgery,” he wrote. “…I’ve been fortunate because my celebrity has brought me enough financial security to receive excellent medical attention. But while I’m grateful for my advantages, I’m acutely aware that many others in the Black community do not have the same options and that it is my responsibility to join with those fighting to change that. Because Black lives are at risk. Serious risk.”
Abdul-Jabbar, 73, the iconic Los Angeles Laker, who is also the NBA’s all-time leading scorer, did not expound further on the diagnoses or his course of treatments, choosing rather to focus on how these healthcare disparities impact the Black community.
- See “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Once Diagnosed With Prostate Cancer, He Says In Op-Ed” by Madison J. Gray on the BET website (December 11, 2020)
- See his article “Black Lives Matter. Our lives are at risk. The health care system—and everyday individuals—have to do a better job to protect us” by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the WebMD website (December 9, 2020)