The first example of the style he made famous

    1974 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Game Worn Goggles. He came into this world at twelve pounds ten ounces and just over twenty-two inches in length, affixing to the face of his obstetrician the first in an endless line of stunned expressions that Lew Alcindor would encounter throughout his life to come. The iconic center would grow to a towering seven feet two inches by the time he began to chart his path to NBA immortality, the 225 pounds on his lean and lanky frame making him appear all the more exotic and impossible, the most instantly recognizable figure in American sports. Yet his look only became complete when a scratched cornea added a pair of goggles to Kareem's ensemble, the most iconic eyewear in American sports history.

    Though Kareem first suffered an eye injury in a January 1968 game during his Junior season at UCLA, it wasn't until his fifth NBA season with the 1974-75 Milwaukee Bucks that a second injury inspired him to seek protective eyewear. In a preseason contest, an errant hand raked across Abdul-Jabbar's eye, once again scratching his cornea and sending him into a rage during which the star center compounded his woes by punching the backboard stanchion, breaking his hand. After missing the first sixteen games of the regular season, Kareem returned wearing goggles similar in appearance to those a skier or scuba diver might use.

    He quickly realized that the loss of peripheral vision with this clunky style was unacceptable, and Bucks trainer Bill Bates ultimately tracked down a high-tech French model fashioned entirely from clear lucite. A foam and medical tape pad was affixed to the bridge, and an elasticized band to each earpiece, and the look was complete.

    Presented is the very first pair of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's definitive goggle style, arguably the most significant artifact of NBA game used gear not issued by a team itself. Our consignor reports that he acquired these historic goggles when they were retired in favor of a new pair. Light scratches on the lucite and sweat staining of the center padding bear witness to the goggles' time in the trenches. Letter of provenance from former Milwaukee Bucks equipment manager. LOA from MEARS, Authentic.

    1974 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Game Worn Goggles.

    *A donation of $100 to the American Red Cross is required to attend the Live auction.

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    Auction Dates
    February, 2013
    23rd-24th Saturday-Sunday
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