Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is auctioning off four of his five Lakers championship rings — 1980, 1985, 1987 and 1988 — among a collection of hundreds of personal memorabilia.
“One of the reasons I’m here is to mention my auction,” Abdul-Jabbar said after a news conference announcing this year’s Basketball Hall of Fame finalists. “I have a charity where we send kids to camp to learn about STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Math]. I’m gonna auction off all my stuff.
“I can’t afford to pay all the rental fees and insurance. I’m just tired of it. It can help me support my foundation. … A significant portion of the proceeds will go to help me help the kids learn about STEM education. That’s one of the main reasons I’m here, to get some support from my friends in the NBA.”
The minimum bid for each ring is $60,000. The auction also includes game and practice-worn jerseys, All-Star rings and a “Wells Fargo Carriage Figurine Presented To Kareem Abdul-Jabbar For Amazing Coaching.”
On the site hosting the auction, GoldinAuctions.com, Abdul-Jabbar says he is not experiencing personal financial hardship. Abdul-Jabbar went into millions of dollars of debt in the 1980s related to a bad investment entered into by his then-financial advisor.
“My sports memorabilia also have a history,” Abdul-Jabbar said in his blog post. “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.”
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced 13 finalists for this year’s class, as well as its two media inductees and two lifetime achievement award winners.
Two local products were among the finalists. Marques Johnson, who attended Crenshaw High and played at UCLA before being selected third overall in the 1977 draft, was one. Another was Paul Westphal, who went to Aviation High in Redondo Beach before playing at USC.
Longtime Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler was awarded the Curt Gowdy Media Award for excellence in electronic media and Marc Stein of the New York Times was given the award for excellence in print media.
Four-time defensive player of the year Ben Wallace and seven-time All Star Jack Sikma were first-time finalists, along with Johnson and Westphal.
The repeat finalists included Leta Andrews, the all-time winningest high school coach, former referee Hugh Evans, two-time NBA coach of the year and former Clippers coach Bill Fitch, four-time All-Star Bobby Jones, five-time All-Star Sidney Moncrief, five-time Division II coach of the year Barbara Stevens, former Kings star Chris Webber and five-time WNBA All-Star Theresa Weatherspoon.
The LeBron James Family Foundation continued an annual tradition of bringing 23 students who are part of their 330 Ambassador program to the All-Star city for community service and career development activities, as well as a visit with James.
On Friday morning, the students worked with the charity Samaritan’s Feet, which washes feet and provides shoes to people who need them, donating 400 pairs of shoes to local students.
“It made me think about my little sisters,” said Lulu Montes, a high school senior in Akron who has been a 330 Ambassador for three years. “As a student who has also been in their shoes, I think it’s great that we can say words of encouragement to them. It was a very, very powerful moment.”
The group spent the afternoon with the Carolina Panthers to learn about career opportunities.