Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is opening up about his personal health struggles -- revealing he's had TWO bouts with cancer AND a major heart surgery.
The 73-year-old NBA legend spells it all out in an essay for WebMD in which he argues about racial inequality with the current health care system in the U.S.
In his article, KAJ goes into detail about his own health issues -- admitting his fame and wealth have given him advantages that "many others in the Black community do not have."
As Kareem points out ... "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."
In his article, Kareem says he was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008 -- but doesn't specify when he battled prostate cancer or underwent heart surgery.
Kareem says he's also "lucky" one of his sons is an orthopedic surgeon and another is a hospital administrator ... which means, "Dad gets to nag them for medical advice whenever he wants."
As for the racial issues with health care, Kareem says Black Americans are "most in need of medical services" but "they actually receive the lowest level."
Kareem says the issue of insufficient health care for Black people is a "more insidious and damaging threat" to the community than police brutality.
He points out the COVID-19 pandemic as an example ... claiming the death rate among Black people is 3.6 times higher than white people.
Part of that reason, KAJ says, is the underlying conditions Black people experience due to the systemic racism that still exists today.
"Having lesser education, and less financial resources, means less opportunity to compete for higher education, which means less opportunity for better paying jobs."
The solution?? Abdul-Jabbar says we must continue to fight systemic racism on a daily basis ... and not let the foot off the gas.
"Black lives have to matter in every aspect of American society if they are to thrive."