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Abdul-Jabbar auction nets nearly $3 million for charity

An auction featuring an array of memorabilia from the Hall-of-Fame career of NBA all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar netted nearly $3 million, ESPN reported Sunday.

Abdul-Jabbar, 71, put up 234 items, including four of his six championship rings, for auction, with most of the proceeds targeted for his Skyhook Foundation that sends children from economically-challenged backgrounds to summer camps focusing on science, technology and engineering.

Per ESPN’s report, Abdul-Jabbar’s 1986-87 championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers drew the highest price of any item at $398,937.50. In addition, Abdul-Jabbar’s other rings from the Lakers’ 1980s title runs accounted for four of the five highest sales at the auction’s close. His 1985 championship ring sold for $343,700 while his ’80 and ’88 rings went for $245,000 each.

The ball from the final NBA regular-season game he played in back in 1989 sold for $270,050. Three of Abdul-Jabbar’s six MVP trophies — from ’72, ’74 and ’76 — each sold for more than $120,000.

“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,” said Abdul-Jabbar, in a statement explaining his aim.

“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.”

In addition to various items from his NBA playing days, Abdul-Jabbar was also auctioning off his class ring from Power Memorial High School, a pair of his iconic (game-worn) goggles, an ice bucket, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a VHS recording of his Hall of Fame induction in 1995 and various other awards from his past.

Abdul-Jabbar, 71, is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points. When he left the game in 1989 at age 42, no NBA player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more Most Valuable Player Awards, played in more All-Star Games or logged more seasons.

In his storied career, Abdul-Jabbar was Rookie of the Year, a member of six NBA championship teams, a six-time NBA MVP, a two-time NBA Finals MVP, a 19-time All-Star, a two-time scoring champion and a member of the NBA 35th and 50th Anniversary All-Time Teams.