As we reported here last month, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is selling off a majority of his basketball memorabilia. The first auctions are now popping on on eBay by starguardcollectibles, a company owned by Abdul-Jabbar and his longtime manager, Debbie Morales.
Many of the items are from Abdul-Jabbar’s farewell tour and the gifts he was given during his final swing through the NBA in 1989.
The Hall of Famer also will be selling items like his 1974 All-Star Game ring, his 1960s UCLA letterman’s sweater and several autographed Sports Illustrated magazines from his days with the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers. There are even a few Sports Illustrated issues from his college days at UCLA, in particular a rare signed magazine that showcased a game John Wooden’s Bruins lost – the monumental No. 1 vs. No. 2 game against Houston in the Astrodome.
The gifts Abdul-Jabbar received during his farewell tour present an eclectic selection of auction items. There is a basketball-shaped gold trophy presented by the New Jersey Nets and a Tiffany silver apple bowl given to him by the New York Knicks.
Nice items, but leave it to the Boston Celtics to give a unique gift — an engraved floor piece from the old Boston Garden. That item is also for sale.
The autographed magazines are interesting. Most autograph collectors know that Kareem does not sign his first name when personalizing items, and that certainly is evident with the “Abdul-Jabbar” auction examples. The rare stuff comes from his earlier “Lew Alcindor” autographed covers — with first and last names — of his birth name. Each of those had bids that opened at $1,000.
Abdul-Jabbar, now 68, said a portion of the proceeds from the auction will go to his charity, Skyhook Foundation. He isn’t selling memorabilia because he needs the cash.
“This isn’t a financial decision,” he said. “This is me trying to deal with my legacy in a way that has some dignity and makes common sense.”
A few years ago, Abdul-Jabbar had an agreement with Julien’s, a Beverly Hills-based auction company, but the two parties got into a legal dispute and Abdul-Jabbar and a crew retrieved hundreds of items that Julien’s had planned to sell. Abdul-Jabbar had to pay a $150,000 bond to get the items back, which he did and then a showed off to TMZ.
You can see the full list of items in the auction here. The auctions close Thursday.