NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has used mementos from his storied basketball journey for a good cause. According to CBS News, Abdul-Jabbar auctioned off his memorabilia and some of the proceeds will be donated to an organization that he started that is working towards bringing STEM education to underserved communities.
The Los Angeles-based organization—dubbed the Skyhook Foundation—was designed to make educational programming surrounding science, technology, engineering, and math accessible to underserved youngsters, the news outlet writes. As part of a collaborative effort with the Los Angeles Unified School District, UCLA and NASA, the foundation offers a program called Camp Skyhook which takes grade school students on a five-day educational experience in the Angeles National Forest. The organization has served over 4,000 students since its inception.
“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,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote in a statement featured on his website. “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.”
He partnered Goldin Auctions to sell his items which were each worth thousands of dollars. Among the items that were featured in the auction were four of his championship rings, an all-star ring, an MVP trophy, and an autographed basketball from 1989. According to Bleacher Report, the items were auctioned off for nearly $3 million.
Underserved communities across the country lack access to resources and funding for STEM education. It’s powerful to see Abdul-Jabbar use his platform to change that narrative.