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Why Kareem Abdul-Jabar Is Selling His Trophies, Rings

Proceeds will help with STEM project
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2019 3:55 PM CST
Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar arrives at the ESPY Awards at Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Los Angeles.   (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has decided four of his NBA championship rings and other memorabilia can be put to better use. So rather than continuing to display them at home, he's selling them to the highest bidder, CBS reports. Much of the auction proceeds will go to his Skyhook Foundation, which provides STEM educational opportunities—in science, technology, engineering and math—to children in communities that lack them. "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 website. "Sell it all." And there's a lot to sell. Sports Illustrated points out that the Hall of Famer was much honored during his career: He was named an All-Star 19 times, was voted the league MVP six times, and won six NBA titles. When he retired, he had more points than anyone in NBA history: 38,387.

The goal of Abdul-Jabbar's foundation—named after his trademark shot—is to send about 80 students a week to the Angeles National Forest for five days. "A lot of them live in areas where they can see it, but they’ve never been there," he told the Orlando Sentinel. “We get teachers from the LA inner-city district to interact with them and do hands-on STEM experiments. Talk to them about gainful employment. We have people talk to them—doctors, technicians." Auctioning off uniforms, awards, and even a 1984 LeRoy Neiman oil painting of his skyhook will help with that. (See the hundreds of items for sale here.) "We’re just trying to make these connections for them so they know where to go," said Abdul-Jabbar, 71. "They don’t all have to think they have to be Beyoncé, or Denzel, or LeBron to succeed in life." Bidding ends Saturday. (His honors include the Medal of Freedom.)

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