The Real Deal New York

Abdul-Jabbar selling Harlem brownstone

November 09, 2010 03:15PM
By Candace Taylor

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s West 120th Street townhouse (far left photo: PropertyShark)

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Harlem brownstone is for sale.

The five-bedroom townhouse on West 120th Street, priced at $3.1 million, is listed with Prudential Douglas Elliman’s Tamara Haas Marotta.

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According to city documents, the house was purchased in 2002 by a California-based entity known as the Dana Point Trust, which was created for Abdul-Jabbar.

At 7-foot-2-inches tall, now-retired Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. Born Lewis Ferdinand Alcindor Jr., the basketball star grew up in Harlem and Inwood, and has been a neighborhood fixture since moving into the townhouse. In 2007, he published “On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey through the Harlem Renaissance.” More recently, he co-wrote and produced a documentary about the Harlem Rens basketball team, slated for release in 2011.

His presence caused a stir in the neighborhood when the Daily News reported in 2006 that Abdul-Jabbar had apparently dumped trash — including a pair of old size-17 sneakers, a Los Angeles Lakers ID card and a front row ticket for a NCAA championship game — in a neighbor’s front yard.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s West 120th Street townhouse

Abdul-Jabbar is a special assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, and neighborhood sources said they believe he has relocated to California. Abdul-Jabbar announced in 2009 that he is battling chronic myeloid leukemia, though his prognosis is encouraging, and has since worked to raise awareness about the disease.

Whatever the reason for his departure, “he will be missed!” said Fabienne Lecole, a Harlem resident and Corcoran Group broker who is marketing a nearby townhouse at 139 West 120th Street.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s W. 120th Street townhouse

Marotta did not comment on the ownership of the four-story town-house, but said a gut-renovation was completed in 2006 with the help of architect Mark Anderson. Antique Art Nouveau doors, marble tiles for the bathrooms and glass fixtures were imported from France and Italy, she said. French doors open onto the backyard. The kitchen has Wolf appliances and custom walnut cabinets.

The fireplaces have specially selected mantels made of different materials, from slate to sandstone, Marotta said. The house also has a sauna, steam room, Japanese soaking tub and a shower with eight nozzles.

Not surprisingly, the house has high ceilings: 11.5 to 12 feet throughout, Marotta said.

Marotta took over the listing in July from Elliman’s Darren Foster, who first put it on the market this spring at roughly $3.5 million.

Marotta decided to reduce the price because, she said, while the home is “easily worth” $3.5 million, “the current market doesn’t bear that at this time.”

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s West 120th Street townhouse

The current price is still “a big number for Harlem,” she said, but said the lower price has helped generate “a lot of interest in the house.”

Deborah Morales, who is an aide to Abdul-Jabbar, according to his official website, emphasized that the home is owned by the Dana Point Trust, not the basketball legend. She also said Abdul-Jabbar does not currently live there. She added that the home may be taken off the market shortly.

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