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Lot # 11: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Record Setting 38,387th NBA Point Basketball (Abdul-Jabbar Letter)

Category: Basketball

Starting Bid: $50,000.00

Bids: 9 (Bid History)

Time Left: Auction closed
Lot / Auction Closed

This lot is closed. Bidding is not allowed.

Item was in Auction "The MINT25 Auction",
which ran from 1/2/2022 7:00 PM to
1/29/2022 10:00 PM

Historically significant game-used basketball used to record Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s final regular-season points, including his record 38,387th point. This ball originates directly from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s personal collection and is accompanied by a one-page typed LOA signed by Abdul-Jabbar in which he attests to its use in scoring the final points of his regular-season career. Abdul-Jabbar has provided further testimony regarding its game-used status by signing the ball in black marker on a side panel together with the inscriptions “Last Reg. Season Game Ball 4/89” and “38,387 PTS Lifetime.” The Spalding Official NBA ball, which bears a special “Los Angeles Lakers” stamping on a side panel, displays wear commensurate with game use and is in Excellent condition. It is accompanied by a custom-made wooden display stand. The display is a 6 x 6-inch wooden pedestal engraved with a Lakers logo topped by a spherical basketball display measuring a total of 15 inches high. Also accompanied by two full LOAS from JSA.

On April 23, 1989, one of the greatest careers in sports history came to an end when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played his final regular-season NBA game against the Seattle Supersonics at the Great Western Forum in Inglewood, California. Abdul-Jabbar started and played 26 minutes, closing out his career by scoring 10 points on 5-6 shooting with 6 boards, 3 assists, and a blocked shot. Those 10 points gave him a total of 38,387 for his career, which remains the record to this date. The NBA all-time scoring mark is one of the most revered records in sports, not to mention one of the most unapproachable. In the thirty-two years that have followed, no one, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, or to date, LeBron James, has come close to breaking it.

When Abdul-Jabbar began the 1988-1989 season, he announced to the world that it was to be his last. With that knowledge, both NBA teams and fans were able to properly pay their respects to one of the game’s greatest players. At every arena the Lakers visited that year, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was treated royally, with each team acknowledging his legendary career by presenting gifts and offering special celebrations. The final and grandest ceremony took place at home on April 23rd, as the Lakers and their fans paid tribute to one of greatest players in franchise history. Abdul-Jabbar was given a rocking chair to sit in prior to the game and his teammates all came out wearing a pair of his signature goggles. The team and players then brought forth a gift of a Rolls Royce as a token of appreciation and respect. Born Lew Alcindor, the all-time great center converted to Islam after the 1971 season ended and adopted the name Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, which translates into "noble, powerful servant." After his retirement, the NBA created an annual Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Social Justice Award. This will ensure Kareem’s professional and social justice legacy will be recognized forever.

Collectors have always placed special significance on game-used items representing historic firsts or lasts. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s final regular-season game would certainly fall into that latter category, and the ball used to score his final points would be the centerpiece of any advanced basketball collection. A comparison of this ball to an item in another sport would be the bat used by Pete Rose to tie Ty Cobb’s all-time hit record, which recently sold at auction for $800,000. One can make the case that this ball is more significant to basketball history than that bat is to baseball history, since this is the ball that set the current record. It should also be noted that this ball last sold at public auction for $270,050 in 2019 and since that time Kareem Abdul-Jabbar memorabilia has greatly appreciated in value. A case in point is a 1969 Topps Lew Alcindor #25 rookie card graded PSA 9, which has increased in auction value from $36,000 to $204,000 (more than a 500% increase) from 2019 to 2021. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own what may be the most important NBA game-used basketball extant.

Estimate: $400,000-$500,000*

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