Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rant #130: Good Luck, Kareem

Kareem Abdul Jabbar's public admission that he has been battling a rare form of leukemia really set my mind going.

Here is an athlete, arguably the greatest player in National Basketball Association history, admitting that he has cancer.

We often think of our pro athletes as indestructible. Nothing can get to them, they are infallible, they are perfect ... of course, this is hogwash, but we do think of our athletes this way.

And then something like this happens, and it brings us down to earth.

Athletes are as much human beings as we "non-athletes" are, and since cancer does not discriminate in who gets it, athletes can get it just like us common folk.

With Jabbar, the former Lew Alcindor, he said he felt funny, was getting cold sweats and had other symptoms that worried him and he was checked out, only to find that his worst fears were realized. He has a rare form of leukemia that is highly treatable, and doctors say his prognosis is good. Jabbar even says that the regimen against the cancer even allows him to eat his favorite Thai foods on occasion.

He is optimistic, and that is very encouraging.

And we should be too, not just to see him recover, but to understand that cancer can hit anyone at any time. If it can hit Jabbar, it can hit anyone.

Let's hope Jabbar's recovery is a quick one, and that advances in cancer research leads to a cure for this dreaded disease, if not in my age group's lifetime, then certainly during my kids' lifetime.

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