From the Basketball Court to the Hospital Room: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Donates 900 Safety Goggles to UCLA Health

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

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As UCLA Health rallies the community to step up to support doctors, nurses and staff on the front lines combatting COVID-19, NBA legend and UCLA Health ambassador Kareem Abdul-Jabbar answered the call in a very personal and generous way, donating 900 pairs of safety goggles.

Abdul-Jabbar wanted health care workers to have the same sense of safety that he had wearing eye protection, as he regularly wore goggles as he became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer in his 20-year career.

“I am honored to be able to use whatever resources I can to help UCLA Health continue its courageous and necessary work to protect the health of our community,” said Abdul-Jabbar.

UCLA’s Dr. Eric Esrailian accepted the donation from Abdul-Jabbar. Dr. Esrailian, chief of the Vatche & Tamar Manoukian Division of Digestive Diseases, director of the Melvin & Bren Simon Digestive Diseases Center and Lincy Foundation Chair in Clinical Gastroenterology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, has been one of UCLA Health’s leaders in the effort to raise funds for supplies, equipment and innovative research during this COVID-19 crisis. He has created two COVID-19 funds: one to help patients and a second to help first responders.

“On behalf of UCLA Health, I am honored and grateful to accept the generous donation of protective goggles from our friend, the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar,” Dr. Esrailian said.  “We are incredibly grateful for the recent outpouring of financial support and donations of supplies during this unprecedented time. #TeamLA is stronger than ever before thanks to all of you, and we will get through this together.”

Abdul-Jabbar teamed up with his longtime friend and manager Deborah Morales to make the donation and secure much needed, high-quality medical supplies for UCLA Health and other hospitals in Southern California.

To learn more about the UCLA Health COVID-19 funds, please visit: https://www.uclahealth.org/Giving/covid-19-philanthropic-support

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