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NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pens scathing essay about US health care system

Photo: A.R. Shaw

NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar participated in a series on social justice provided by WebMD and took the health care industry to task in an essay fittingly titled “Black Lives Matter.” In it, the all-time scoring leader shined a light on the glaring health inequities and unfair practices associated with large medical corporations and the insurance companies that employ them. When it comes to fair and equal treatment of Black Americans, Abdul-Jabbar believes there is little to none, especially if money is a concern.

In the piece that he penned on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, the NBA legend wrote:

“My life is at risk. Not just because I’m 73 with the usual annoying aches and pains that accompany age but because I’m tall and I’m Black. At 7 feet, 2 inches, I’m statistically more prone to blood clots, lower back and hip problems, higher risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder), and a shorter life span in general. Being Black means I’m more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart problems, obesity, cancer, and a shorter life in general. Yup, tall people and Black people have shorter life expectancies.”

Abdul-Jabbar had a well-documented bout with leukemia years ago, but most were unaware of the other, less-publicized health issues he suffered with and overcame. He made those known as he continued his eloquent and informative piece.

“So far, in keeping with these statistical risks, I’ve had prostate cancer, leukemia and heart-bypass surgery,” he wrote. “I’ve been fortunate because my celebrity has brought me enough financial security to receive excellent medical attention. No one wants an NBA legend dying on their watch. Imagine the Yelp reviews.”

The six-time champ, who reveled in the ’70s and ’80s as the league’s most dominant and effective scorer, then broke down how the Black Lives Matter movement became the largest of its kind, but somehow the very thing its leaders are fighting for to this day is still being sacrificed.

Read more after the jump.

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