Most fans remember Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the greatest scorer in NBA history. What Laker fan hasn’t appreciated his remarkable play through the years?
Today he is 62 with a rare form of leukemia and he’s chosen to share his story.
‘The fans and the general public have been incredible in their support,” he said Sunday night during a press conference at Staples Center prior to the Lakers’ game against the Houston Rockets.
“I’ve got people’s prayers and support. They asked what they could do, it’s been a great opportunity to re-connect with people and I’m very glad that I did it.
“It’s been beautiful.”
Abdul-Jabbar then was shown on the big screen and thanked the sellout crowd. He didn’t mention leukemia but did say thanks for their concern “in my recent situation.”
He also didn’t say who he was, except to say ‘this captain.’
He sure is. During his playing days he was called “cap,” short for captain, by teammates. Magic Johnson always called him “cap,” not Kareem.
I look at him now, still trim and athletic, recently working as the coach of young Andrew Bynum, and hope he’ll continue this way for many years. The disease is treatable, doctors say.
“I intend to live my life as if nothing is wrong,” said the captain.
That came as a relief to Laker officials who know Abdul-Jabbar has recently been courted by the Memphis Grizzlies to work with their young centers. Abdul-Jabbar went to Memphis and had dinner with several players.
But, apparently, that’s as far as it went.
“All the attention, this has been quite an experience,” said Abdul-Jabbar. “In supermarkets, even when I’m just driving around.”
Fans love their sports heroes. And, believe me, the sports heroes aren’t above feeling the love.