Former Lakers superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has put hundreds of his basketball treasures and signature artifacts from his NBA career onto the auctioneer’s block to raise money for disadvantaged kids. He told CBS2’s Michelle Gile that “just owning a lot of stuff felt kind of hollow.” So he let it all go and said goodbye to his NBA memorabilia and awards for a greater cause.
Included in the collection of farewell items were signed basketballs, jerseys, and even his iconic game goggles, as well as four of his six championship rings, and more. The basketball memorabilia that was auctioned spans his career from high school to his time with the Showtime Lakers.
To really get blown away by this man, here’s what Abdul-Jabbar personally had to say about the auctioning off of his treasures on a blog:
“My sports memorabilia also have a history. My history. My life. And, oddly, since my life is still happening and ever-evolving, I am less personally attached to those items than I am to my desire to create new history for myself—and futures for others. Much of the proceeds from my auction will go to support my charity, the Skyhook Foundation, whose mission is to “give kids a shot that can’t be blocked.” We do this by sending children from economically challenged schools to five days in the Angeles National Forest to experience the wonders of nature and learn the basics about science, technology, and engineering. Camp Skyhook is an immersive hands-on experience that takes kids out of school for 5 days and 4 nights. They go from auditory learning to utilizing all of their senses in the great outdoors. Our hope is not just to get them out of the city to commune with the outdoors, but to stimulate an interest in the sciences that might lead them to fulfilling careers.
So, when it comes to choosing between storing a championship ring or trophy in a room, or providing kids with an opportunity to change their lives, the choice is pretty simple. Sell it all. Looking back on what I have done with my life, instead of gazing at the sparkle of jewels or gold plating celebrating something I did a long time ago, I’d rather look into the delighted face of a child holding their first caterpillar and think about what I might be doing for their future. That’s a history that has no price. Finally, having worked with Ken Goldin in the past, and seen the track record of success of Goldin Auctions, I have no doubt the auction will be successful and many collectors throughout the World will be adding prized possessions to their collections.”
All the items were sold through Goldin Auctions, and they racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bids. The bulk of the money generated from the auctions was given to The SkyHook Foundation, Abdul-Jabbar’s charity for helping underprivileged children pursue STEM educations.
One of the most popular items that got sold was a game used, signed and inscribed Spalding basketball used for Abdul-Jabbar’s last points of his career. The item sold for over $270,000! If you’re curious, you can browse through the other items on the Goldin Auctions webpage here.