For Abdul-Jabbar, Going Public with Leukemia Diagnosis was a Private Battle - LA Times

BY foxsports • November 10, 2009

By Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times

As if a leukemia diagnosis wasn't enough, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had another internal battle on his hands.

Whom should he tell?

The intensely private Abdul-Jabbar found out last December that he had a rare form of leukemia, though he shared it with only the smallest of circles.

He waited five months before telling Lakers Coach Phil Jackson that he had Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, Jackson said Tuesday. The disease is a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that produces cancerous blood cells.

Abdul-Jabbar only recently alerted other Lakers officials, informing them late last week that he would soon go public with the disease in an effort to draw attention to it.

The NBA's all-time leading scorer then granted phone interviews to three media outlets -- the Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Associated Press -- with the agreement that the information be released early Tuesday morning. Numerous TV stations and other media followed the story from there.

How privately held was Abdul-Jabbar's diagnosis over the last 11 months? His prot