One of the greatest players to grace the National Basketball Association (NBA), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is speaking out about a fight with cancer.
The NBA’s all-time leading scorer revealed his prostate cancer battle in an essay written for WebMD. He also uses the essay to slam healthcare inequality in the United States.
In the essay, Abdul-Jabbar says he is luckier than other African Americans to survive the diagnosis, according to Daily Mail. The legendary basketball star has had his share of health problems in recent years. He has also battled leukemia and survived a heart bypass surgery. He kept both ailments private but is now speaking out on what he calls healthcare injustice.
While he did not specify the timeframe of the diagnosis or recovery, he says treatment would not be possible without fame or fortune. He believes access to top notch healthcare treatment is not available to everyone — though it should be.
“I’ve been fortunate because my celebrity has brought me enough financial security to receive excellent medical attention,'” Abdul-Jabbar says in the essay. “No one wants an NBA legend dying on their watch. Imagine the Yelp reviews.”
NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Talks Problems Facing Black Community
While he tries to keep a sense of humor about his struggles, he knows healthcare is no laughing matter. He says black lives are at great risk due to not possessing the access to quality care.
“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,” he says. “Because Black lives are at risk. Serious risk.”
While he speaks out on police brutality, the six-time NBA champion focuses on the dangers facing the Black community in the health field.
“The more insidious and damaging threat to the health, lives, and economic well-being of black Americans is a health care system that ignores the fact that, though they are most in need of medical services, they actually receive the lowest level,” he says.