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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar faces 3 months of recovery after surgery for broken hip

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Posted at 9:27 AM, Dec 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-19 10:27:30-05

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is recovering from surgery for a broken hip after he fell at a concert in Los Angeles.

The basketball Hall of Famer had surgery Sunday “with no complications,” his business partner and spokeswoman, Deborah Morales, told The Associated Press on Monday.

“He will be in recovery for the next three months,” she wrote via text.

Abdul-Jabbar was attending the Manhattan Transfer's concert at Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles on Friday night when he was injured. Paramedics at the venue responded and took 76-year-old by ambulance to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

“I'd like to say I fell while trying to save a child from plunging over the balcony, but I just tripped,” he posted Monday on his Substack account. “Hard for me to accept that a once world-class athlete just stumbled. But age is the great equalizer and humbles us all.”

Abdul-Jabbar wrote that he had hip replacement surgery “like 450,000 other Americans every year.”

He had been scheduled to read a letter from Vice President Kamala Harris to the venerable vocal group before his fall. The Manhattan Transfer was celebrating its 50th anniversary before performing for the last time.

Abdul-Jabbar is a longtime fan of the group that blends R&B, jazz, blues and pop, and is best-known for its 1981 hit “The Boy From New York City.”

“I'm sorry I was not able to join you onstage to read the letter and tell the audience how much your music has meant to me,” he wrote. “On the plus side, my fall hit all the newspapers so I made your final show even more memorable. Come for the music, stay for the klutzy fall.”

Abdul-Jabbar was a key player on the Los Angeles Lakers’ teams during their “Showtime” era in the 1980s, leading them to five NBA championships.

"I'm wishing my Showtime teammate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a speedy recovery after falling and breaking his hip! Praying for the Captain!” Magic Johnson posted on social media over the weekend.

The 7-foot-2 center was the NBA’s career scoring leader until being passed by current Laker LeBron James in February. Abdul-Jabbar owned the mark for 39 years.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 17 rebounds in a win Sunday night to overtake Abdul-Jabbar as the Milwaukee Bucks’ career rebounding leader. Abdul-Jabbar won the first of his six NBA MVP awards during his years there before being traded to the Lakers in 1975.

He starred at UCLA, where he was known as Lew Alcindor and was a three-time national player of the year under coach John Wooden.

Abdul-Jabbar disclosed in 2020 that he had prostate cancer. In 2009, he said he had been diagnosed the previous year with chronic myeloid leukemia, a blood cancer.