On March 2, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar partnered with Goldin Auctions to sell memorabilia and other items from his NBA Hall of Fame career, including his championship rings and MVP and All-Star trophies. Raking in nearly $3 million from the auction, Abdul-Jabbar is donating most of the proceeds to his Skyhook Foundation, a charity he established in 2009 to provide children in economically challenged communities with educational opportunities based in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Among the highest ticket items sold were Abdul-Jabbar's championship rings honoring the Lakers' titles in the 1980s. His 1987 ring sold for nearly $400,000, followed by his 1985 ring which sold for $343,700 and his 1980 and 1988 rings which each sold for $245,500. Abdul-Jabbar’s 1989 autographed basketball from his final points scored in the NBA also sold for $270,050. Lastly, Abdul-Jabbar auctioned off three of his six MVP trophies, each selling for over $122,000.
"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," states Abdul-Jabbar. "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 history that has no price."
Abdul-Jabbar is passionate about helping children realize they don't have to be athletes or celebrities to achieve success. The Skyhook Foundation aims to “give kids a shot that can’t be blocked” by raising funds to bring STEM education to underserved communities and introduce children to sustainable, 21st century careers. Also a historian and New York Times best-selling author, Abdul Jabbar is a powerful role model for achieving professional success off the court too.
Since retiring from the NBA after a 20-year career at the age of 42, Abdul-Jabbar not only remains one of the greatest players ever, but he continues to serve as a dedicated community leader and philanthropist, even receiving the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016 from Barack Obama. While his long list of basketball accomplishments are extraordinary — including everything from 19-time All-Star to all-time NBA leading scorer — his legacy off the court will leave the most lasting impact for young lives and the communities they will soon lead.