LOS ANGELES -- Lakers legend and NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is battling a rare form of Leukemia, but he says his long-term prognosis is good.

The 62-year-old basketball star was diagnosed last December with chronic myeloid leukemia -- a disorder of the blood and bone marrow that produces cancerous blood cells. If left untreated, the illness can prove fatal.

Abdul-Jabbar says his condition is being managed by taking daily oral medication, seeing his specialist every other month and getting his blood analyzed regularly.

He's a paid spokesman for the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, which makes a drug that treats the illness.

Abdul-Jabbar noted how his Lakers teammate Magic Johnson brought awareness to HIV, and said he's sharing his story for the same reason.

"I've never been a person to share my private life. But I can help save lives," he said at a news conference. "It's incumbent on someone like me to talk about this."

Abdul-Jabbar said he became concerned last year because he was suffering frequent hot flashes and sweats.

He went for tests at UCLA, which showed his white blood cell count was "sky high."

When he heard the word leukemia, Abdul-Jabbar said he was "scared."

"I thought it was all the same. I thought it could mean I have a month to live."

But, doctors told him the illness is treatable with proper medication and monitoring.

"There is hope. This condition can be treated. You can still live a productive, full life," Abdul-Jabbar said.

Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, played 20 pro seasons, 14 with the Lakers, and retired after the 1988-89 season.

He is also a special assistant with the Lakers.

The six-time NBA MVP intends to post updates to his Facebook and Twitter accounts and stay connected through www.CMLearth.com, a Web site for those afflicted by the disease.