When faced with the choice of keeping all of the mementos from his storied Hall of Fame career or helping children from improvised surroundings live better lives, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar believes there is no choice.
“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, Abdul-Jabbar wrote on his blog. “Sell it all.”
And with that, arguably the best center to play the game is parting with it all. Abdul-Jabbar is parting with the rings from his 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1988 NBA Championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and “a game-used signed and inscribed basketball from his final game in 1989,” ESPN reports. The majority of the proceeds with go to his Skyhook Foundation charity which helps kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math.
“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.”
Abdul-Jabbar, 71, added that he’s not struggling financially so don’t go counting his pockets.
The minimum bid to own one of Abdul Jabbar’s championship rings is $60,000. Other items include game-worn jerseys, uniforms and trophies. Abdul-Jabbar also has included keys to the cities in his fire sale.
“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,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “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.”
ESPN notes that “Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion; he won his first ring as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, followed by five with the Lakers.”
He’s also a better man that the president of the United States because ... clearly.