Los Angeles: Legendary former Los Angeles Lakers center and NBA Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is expected to make a full recovery after quadruple coronary-bypass surgery, hospital officials said on Friday.
Abdul-Jabbar was admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles with cardiovascular disease and underwent surgery on Thursday — his 68th birthday, the hospital said in a statement issued at Abdul-Jabbar's request.
"At this time, Abdul-Jabbar would like to thank his surgical team and the medical staff at UCLA, his alma mater, for the excellent care he has received," the statement said. "He is looking forward to getting back to his normal activities soon."
Abdul-Jabbar, famed for his trademark sky hook shot, played 20 seasons in the NBA, with the Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers. Before retiring in 1989 he won six NBA Championships — five with the Lakers. He was a 19-time All-Star and six-time league Most Valuable Player.
Born Lewis Alcindor Jr in New York, Abdul-Jabbar adopted his Muslim name in 1971. Prior to entering the NBA he enjoyed a stellar collegiate career, winning three consecutive national titles at UCLA under iconic coach John Wooden.
"He asks that you keep him in your thoughts and, most importantly, cherish and live each day to its fullest," the hospital's statement on his behalf said.
Abdul-Jabbar also urged fans wanting to send him well wishes to instead "support those in your own community who may be suffering from various health issues."