SCP Auctions is used to setting new industry records. In its most recent 2017 Fall Premier online auction, which closed Nov. 5, the industry leader established yet another new benchmark by selling Lew Alcindor’s 1966-67 game worn UCLA Bruins home jersey for $137,849. The previous auction record for a college gamer belonged to Christian Laettner’s 1992 Duke Blue Devils home jersey which sold for $119,500 in 2014. Alcindor, after posting perhaps the most successful college basketball career in history with three consecutive NCAA titles at UCLA under head coach John Wooden from 1967 to ’69 – tournaments in which he was named the Most Outstanding Player all three years – went on to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to the team’s only NBA title in just his second year in the league. A student of Islam, he would eventually change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar the day after the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets to win the NBA title on April 30, 1971.
The record-setting jersey was worn by Alcindor during his first NCAA championship season. The First team All-American, after sitting out his freshman year under then-NCAA rules, dominated as a sophomore varsity starter, leading UCLA to a 30-0 record while averaging 29 points and 15.5 rebounds per game. His white durene jersey includes a straight cut tail and remains in remarkable condition. Of interesting note is the fact that during Alcindor’s freshman year (1965-66), the team wore jerseys with “BRUINS” spelled out across the front, but switched to the “UCLA” yellow on blue double tackle twill version in his sophomore year. The two-color lettering was exclusive to the 1966-67 season as the team switched to all-blue lettering the following year. Therefore, this is the one-year style worn exclusively by Alcindor and his teammates during the 1966-67 NCAA championship campaign.
The jersey was obtained in 1970 by a UCLA student who served a two-year stint as the Assistant Team Manager, working directly under Coach John Wooden. The individual received the jersey directly from the acting equipment manager. The lot included a letter of authenticity from MEARS Authentication Services with a perfect A10 grade. The buyer of the jersey wishes to remain anonymous at this time. The price includes a buyer’s premium. Full 2017 Fall Premier Auction results are available at www.scpauctions.com. -Terry Melia