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NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar pokes fun at ‘great fall’ that broke his hip

LOS ANGELES – National Basketball Association (NBA) legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he is recovering from hip replacement surgery after falling at a concert, but his Substack account of the incident showed that his sense of humour is still intact.

“Humpty Kareem had a great fall,” he quipped in the first sentence of his Substack post on Dec 18 that described his fall at a Manhattan Transfer concert in Los Angeles on Dec 15.

“I’d like to say I fell while trying to save a child from plunging over a balcony, but I just tripped,” the six-time NBA champion wrote.

“Hard for me to accept that a once world-class athlete just stumbled. But age is the great equaliser and humbles us all.

“Now, I’m a world-class patient in a bed convalescing from a hip replacement like 450,000 other Americans every year.”

The 76-year-old, who was famous for his ambidextrous skyhook shot, said he was scheduled to speak at the concert, which was the American group’s final performance in a decades-long career.

“But I fell and was carted off to hospital with a broken hip,” he added.

Deborah Morales, Abdul-Jabbar’s business partner and spokeswoman, had issued a statement on Dec 16 saying he had suffered a broken hip and would undergo surgery.

She told CNN a day later that he was “recovering just fine” and on Dec 18 Abdul-Jabbar posted on Substack, where he regularly writes about sports, politics and culture.

“I will be taking a week or so off over the holidays to fully recuperate and spend time with my family,” he wrote.

“When I return, it will be with a shiny new hip and a lot of shiny thoughts to share.”

The iconic 2.18m superstar centre made his NBA debut with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 and in 1971 led them to their first NBA crown.

He was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 and together with playmaker Magic Johnson combined for a “Showtime” era to bring the Lakers five titles in the 1980s before retiring in 1989.

The 19-time NBA All-Star broke the all-time scoring record in 1984 and held the NBA career points mark until it was broken by the newest Lakers star, LeBron James, in February.

Abdul-Jabbar has also embraced a role as a social activist, speaking on numerous social justice causes. The author of more than a dozen books, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 by then United States President Barack Obama.

The American has dealt with other serious health issues, revealing in 2009 he had been diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukaemia.

In 2015 he underwent quadruple coronary bypass surgery and in 2020 revealed in a magazine article that he had been treated for prostate cancer. AFP

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