Lakers shocked to hear Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has leukemia
To a man, the Lakers were stunned to hear that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.
Kobe Bryant said he was "extremely shocked" to hear that the NBA's all-time leading scorer was found to have Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that produces cancerous cells.
"We're shocked, just as is everybody else," Bryant said. "He's extremely private."
Abdul-Jabbar, a Lakers special assistant coach, informed very few people when he was diagnosed last December. He quietly told some of the Lakers' coaching staff a few months later but did not inform other players and Lakers personnel.
Andrew Bynum, who was coached by Abdul-Jabbar the last few seasons, was also surprised to hear the news.
"I didn't even know until today, this morning," Bynum said. "It's unfortunate. I wish him the best with it."
-- Mike Bresnahan
Photo: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in June during the Lakers' victory parade. He was diagnosed with leukemia last December. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times