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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Cancer Survivor & Highest-Scoring NBA Player in History

When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the NBA in 1989 at age 42, no player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more Most Valuable Player Awards, played in more All-Star Games or logged more seasons, but his most important triumph was beating cancer. Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. in New York City, Abdul-Jabbar dominated…

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When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar left the NBA in 1989 at age 42, no player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more Most Valuable Player Awards, played in more All-Star Games or logged more seasons, but his most important triumph was beating cancer.

Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr. in New York City, Abdul-Jabbar dominated New York high school basketball, and then enrolled at UCLA and played for John Wooden’s powerhouse Bruins. Abdul-Jabbar brought grace, agility and versatility to the center position, which had previously been characterized solely by power and size.

His other accomplishments are perhaps the most impressive in NBA history: Rookie of the Year, member of six championship teams, six-time MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 19-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion, and a member of the NBA 35th and 50th Anniversary All-Time Teams. He also owned eight playoff records and seven All-Star records. No player achieved as much individual and team success as Abdul-Jabbar.

Now an author and commenter on social issues for Time.com, he speaks about his experience as one of the most recognizable faces in NBA’s history, as well as conquering a rare form of cancer. Since his retirement, Abdul-Jabbar hasn’t strayed too far from the game he loves, and works for the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. He even spent a year as a coach on the White Mountain Apache reservation in Arizona — an experience he documented in the book A Season on the Reservation. He has written several other books, and is a spokesperson for several products.

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Surviving Cancer
In November 2009, Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a rare form of blood and bone marrow cancer that creates an inordinate amount of white blood cells. He immediately thought he had a very limited time to live. However, with treatment, his long-term prognosis proved favorable, and in February 2011, doctors declared the retired NBA star free of cancer. To combat his illness, he worked closely with his doctors to develop a healthy regimen. Once very shy, Abdul-Jabbar now raises awareness about the disease and is a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company Novartis. In this inspiring presentation, he speaks about his experience and the lessons he learned, as well as how he adapted and overcame what might have been a death sentence.

Videos

An Evening with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar- Full Show

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Speaker - PDA Speakers

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