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Lakers shocked to hear Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has leukemia

November 10, 2009 |  1:40 pm

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