Ex-Bruins great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar gives 900 safety goggles to UCLA

One of UCLA all-time greats has stepped up to help the school's hospital system amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar donated 900 pairs of safety goggles to UCLA Health, the hospital announced Tuesday.

"I want to thank the doctors and nurses at UCLA for all that they are doing," Abdul-Jabbar said in a video message recorded for UCLA Health's website. "You guys are awesome, risking your lives to help the public.

"I would like to do my part, so I'm going to use my influence and have my team source quality medical products such as protective eyewear goggles. ... You guys should have all the best equipment while you're on the frontline. Thank you for all you do, and good luck."

The amount of confirmed COVID-19 cases in California reached nearly 16,500 with close to 400 deaths as of Tuesday afternoon.

While Abdul-Jabbar vowed to provide even more personal protective equipment to the hospital, the goggles were an apt initial donation by Abdul-Jabbar, as he regularly wore rec specs throughout his NBA career.

UCLA's Dr. Eric Esrailian, who has created two funds -- one to help patients and one to help first responders -- as the Southern California community reels from the virus, accepted the donation on behalf of the hospital.

"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 in a statement. "We are incredibly grateful for the recent outpouring of financial support and donations of supplies during this unprecedented time."

Abdul-Jabbar, then known by his birth name, Lew Alcindor, played at UCLA from 1965-69. He averaged 26.4 points on 63.9 percent shooting and 15.5 rebounds per game, leading the Bruins to three straight national championships under legendary coach John Wooden. He very well could have won a fourth, but the NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play on the varsity basketball team back then.