Kareem Abdul-Jabbar cancer remission

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar cancer remission_The big man's voice is distinctive.

There is a soothing softness to it that somehow commands whatever attention his mere presence doesn't, which is pretty much how it always has been for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

In high school, he led Power Memorial to three consecutive New York City Catholic League championships.
In college, he led UCLA to three consecutive national titles.

As a pro, he won one NBA crown with the Milwaukee Bucks and five with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a six-time MVP. He's the career scoring leader.

If he isn't the best center in the history of the game, Abdul-Jabbar stands as a formidable argument in the debate about who is.

He'll celebrate a 64th birthday in a little more than a week, which is extra-special good news for somebody coming back from leukemia.

"I'm in remission. You never can say any cancer is gone forever, but I feel good," said Abdul-Jabbar, whose specific ailment is Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia.

He's an interesting man and a speaker eloquent enough to be invited to make appearances such as the one he'll handle Thursday night. He will be at Trump International Golf Club for the "Men's Nite Out" presented by the Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County.

"It's important to share life experiences," Abdul-Jabbar said, "because it allows us to teach and learn at the same time."

It was Richard Lapchick, a researcher on the role of sports in society and a lifetime friend of Abdul-Jabbar's, who two years ago wrote for ESPN.com: "The image of an African-American man who is a Muslim talking to audiences about Jewish people who were leaders in the early civil rights movement and how African-Americans and Jews shared a common fight against oppression ... to those who know him, that role isn't surprising at all."

Perhaps he'll discuss that kind of serious topic here. Almost certainly, though, the conversation will turn to basketball, from the time when Abdul-Jabbar was known as Lew Alcindor, before his conversion to Islam, to the present.

From the days of Houston and Elvin Hayes beating UCLA and Alcindor in 1968 in the first nationally televised regular-season college basketball game to the dynastic Bruins' revenge in the Final Four.

From his Hall of Fame career to his current roles as executive producer and co-author of On the Shoulders of Giants.

The documentary tells the story of the Harlem Rens, an all-black professional basketball team of the 1920s, '30s and '40s.

"They've gotten lost in the history of the game," Abdul-Jabbar said, "even though they're an important part of that history. I'm from Harlem and didn't know anything about them except that they were a great team.

"They faced the obstacles of segregation when they traveled. They were black in America at a time when injustices were a way of life for them. But they did whatever they needed to do for the chance to play basketball and demonstrate their excellence."

The team was named for the Renaissance Casino - at 137th Street and Seventh Avenue - and played its games in a ballroom there. The jazz stars of the era would perform at halftime, and dancing would be the order of the night afterward.

The project, Abdul-Jabbar said, "was a labor of love."

Heat President Pat Riley, who won four titles with Abdul-Jabbar during their eight L.A. years together, is not at all surprised by his former player's post-career track.

"He's a very intelligent person, very cerebral," Riley said. "He was always reading and was interested in life beyond basketball even while he was making a living at it. He had a passion for anything that piqued those interests. He needed to know more than the simple outline of a story. There's a romance to having such extraordinary curiosity."

It has made him a man of his own giant shoulders.

To attend Thursday night's event, call (561) 242-6613. Total cost is $350 per person.

source: palmbeachpost