July 29, 2014 7:30pm PT by Aaron Couch
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Suing Auction House Over Bruce Lee Poster
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says his signed Bruce Lee poster is being auctioned off against his wishes — and he's fighting to get it back.
The former NBA star has filed a lawsuit against Julien's Auction House to retrieve 152 personal items, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
According to Abdul-Jabbar's suit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, he initially agreed to allow the Beverly Hills auction house to sell 400 of his items, but the deal fell through when he decided not to part with some of the memorabilia.
"After exhausting all other options, I have filed a lawsuit against Julien's Auctions of Beverly Hills for conversion," Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. "They continue to illegally possess 152 pieces of my personal sports memorabilia which I own, won and have earned throughout my career. To correct a recent media story, Julien's has not obtained any prior judgments against me personally, nor do I personally owe them anything. While I much prefer to be on a basketball court, Julien's has forced me into Superior Court to obtain the return of my personal property. I have faith in the judicial process and fully expect to win this dispute."
Among the items Abdul-Jabbar wants back is a signed poster for Game of Death, the 1973 film he made with Lee. Other items include a McDonald's "Top Faces of Black History" Award, five pairs of Los Angeles Lakers sweatpants and a script for Chevy Chase's 1985 comedy Fletch.
"Julien’s Auctions recently prevailed in an arbitration against one of Mr. Jabbar’s companies, KAJ Lifetime Retirement Collection LLC," Julien's said in a statement. "That company, not Mr. Jabbar, entered into a valid consignment agreement for the items at issue. The arbitrator found that the consignment agreement was valid. Julien’s Auctions vigorously disputes Mr. Jabbar’s contentions. Julien’s Auctions is also pursuing claims against Mr. Jabbar’s business associate and her company."
Abdul-Jabbar recently told THR that fans still consistently ask him questions about working with Lee, even more than they do about his time in the NBA. (See him talk about the late martial artist here.)