Dikembe Mutombo proves to be a surprisingly good auctioneer. (Moses Robinson/Getty Images)
In the event that you don't watch the A&E reality series "Storage Wars," or any of the similarly styled shows that have sprung up in the wake of its success, here's the basic premise: When someone goes several months without paying rent on a storage locker, the unit's owner can auction off the contents of that locker to the highest bidder for cash. Sometimes the stored items are weird; sometimes they're valuable; sometimes they're both. There are people who bid on these units for a living, aiming to re-sell the items they win at auction and turn a profit in the process.
Buyers typically get at least a few minutes to tour storage facilities and take a peek inside the opened doors of available units before bidding opens, but sometimes the choice on whether to plunk down cash must be made sight-unseen. That can result in bidders getting stuck with some real garbage or, if they're really lucky, making out like bandits.
Ladies and gentlemen, let's meet lucky duck and vaunted "some guy in Maryland" Adrian Petrus, whom TMZ informs us "competed for the contents of a foreclosed unit [of which he] had no idea what was inside," and who came away with a treasure-trove of gravel-voiced gold:
[...] you can imagine how pumped he was when he opened the locker and realized the whole thing was packed full of [Dikembe] Mutombo items — signed basketballs, shoes, jerseys, trading cards and photos of Dikembe with celebs like Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela.
The locker also contained works of art painted and signed by Mutombo's brother.
Turns out, the unit belonged to one of Dikembe's brothers ... who lost the locker recently after missing several rental payments.
We're told the brother had gone back to the Congo to deal with family issues in the wake of his father's death — and simply forgot to make his locker payments. Sucks.
("Sucks." That's restaurant-quality empathy and compassion there, TMZ. Also, I am way not sure that the gentleman depicted there is actually Michael Jackson.)
Petrus told the website that he reached out to the eight-time All-Star and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year to "try and make a deal" that would get the auctioned items back in Deke's giant shot-blocking mitts, but didn't receive a reply. As a result, Petrus says, we should prepare to see Mutombo family gear up on eBay in the near future, which is great news for non-storage-unit bidders eager to lock down a variety of massive Nikes, interesting African art, autographed memorabilia and, of course, an official Mutombo fortune-cookie fortune. Keep your eyes peeled, Internet auction lovers.
This got me to thinking: Which former NBA player's stuff would you most like to stumble upon in a storage locker the contents of which you've just won in an auction? My mind immediately went to some of the favorite players of my youth — chiefly, John Starks, Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley of the early-to-mid-1990s New York Knicks — but the more I think about it, the more I think it'd bum me out to associate these dudes I loved with foreclosure, shunted-aside memories of glory and musty storage spaces.
Maybe it'd be better, then, to focus on players who weren't your all-time favorites, but who seem like interesting dudes who'd have some seriously weird stuff in storage. That in mind, I'm going to go with Bill Walton and Gilbert Arenas. Who's your pick? Let us know in the comments, or on Facebook or Twitter by clicking on the links below.
Hat-tip to CrabDribbles.
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