Man, it seems like only 2 1/2 months ago that we learned Kobe Bryant and his mother were involved in a lawsuit with a New Jersey auctioneer to prevent the sale of a bunch of Kobe's trophies, personal effects and merchandise that his mom had given the auction company in exchange for enough cash to buy a house in Nevada. Were we ever so young?
The family drama saw mother Pamela Bryant claim her son had said he didn't care about the stuff and that she and husband Joe "Jellybean" Bryant could do whatever she wanted with it, which apparently included "giving a bunch of it to an auction house in exchange for a $450,000 advance to put down on a property in the Southwest." The Los Angeles Lakers star countered with the immortal (to me, anyway) line "Mom, you know I never told you that you could have the memorabilia."
The legal wrangling included a cease-and-desist letter sent by Kobe to stop the auction, a federal lawsuit filed by Goldin Auctions to allow it to continue, subsequent filings from Kobe and wife Vanessa Bryant aimed at proving establishing he never gave his folks permission to hock his stuff, and a June settlement that allowed auctioneer Kenneth Goldin to put a small number of items up for bidding, rather than the 100-plus pieces Pamela initially promised and Goldin initially advertised.
That small slate of goodies became available to collectors on June 17 and wrapped up early Saturday morning, and while it didn't deliver the $1.5 million in revenues that Goldin projected the full 100-plus-item lot would have, it still cleaned up all right, according to ESPN.com's Darren Rovell:
A duplicate of his 2000 Los Angeles Lakers championship ring, gifted to his father Joe, sold for $174,184. A version in a smaller size, made for his mother Pam, went for $108,153.
Other items that commanded top dollar in the sale, conducted by New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions, included Bryant's 2000 NBA All-Star ring ($55,597), and two of his game-used high school uniforms ($50,150 and $41,694).
Now, I'm no mathematician, but it seems to me ... [plus four, carry the one] ... that those five items raised just a tick under $430,000. And that actually might undersell it a bit — tallying up the final prices listed on Goldin's auction page puts the haul at $436,201.26.
There were several other Kobe-related pieces up for bidding, too:
• A medallion and ribbon from the 1996 Magic Johnson Roundball Classic, a high school all-star game in which Bryant participated);
• A pair of autographs, one on a program from the 1996 Pennsylvania Boys 4A state championship (won by Bryant and Lower Merion) and one on a photo from Kobe's first Lakers press conference after the 1996 NBA draft;
• A blue UCLA basketball signed to Kobe by legendary coach John Wooden;
• A pair of game-used Kobe road jerseys, one from the 2001-02 season (with a commemorative 9/11 patch) and one from the 2007-08 season (his first after switching his jersey number from No. 8 to No. 24);
• A pack of tickets from the Dec. 5, 2012, game against the New Orleans Hornets in which Kobe scored his 30,000th career point;
• Five prototypes of different signature shoes produced while Kobe had an endorsement deal with Adidas;
• Several collections of Kobe basketball cards and signed art.
Add it all up, and the take comes to $478,072.01. Not bad for some stuff that was just laying around, right?
For some of the items, including the 2000 NBA All-Star ring, 50 percent of the winning bid was reportedly set to go to charity. Which charity, exactly, we're not sure, but Bryant has in the past auctioned off the clear plastic protective mask he wore during the 2011-12 season and a game of H-O-R-S-E to benefit initiatives combating homelessness. Here's hoping those proceeds go toward something equally noble and beneficial, putting a positive bow on top of a deeply weird family squabble.
Hat-tip to SLAM.