Over a year ago, we detailed the auction set up to sell off several mementos earned by Basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving, who was dealing with some financial woes at the time. Last week, we learned that fellow Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson will be auctioning off some of his wares shortly, and though the Big O isn't working through the same financial concerns Dr. J. was, he freely admits that, yeah, money is sort of the point here.
And, on a lighter note, he also notes that his game was bigger than any chunk of hardware. That hardware is all yours, highest bidder, because Oscar really only cares about the memories that came from earning them. Pretty cool, Big O.
"A lot of (sports stars) are selling a lot of items,'' Robertson said by phone from his Cincinnati home when asked why he's parting with the only NBA MVP he won in his legendary career, which spanned from 1960-74. "I don't feel that I need to keep it, to be honest. I haven't seen it for 40 years. It was sitting in the attic.''
Still, it's an MVP award. And one could say Robertson is the greatest basketball player ever to put such a trophy up for sale.
"I know what I did in basketball,'' Robertson said. "I don't need that to remind me. If there's an opportunity for somebody out there to get more enjoyment from it, that's fine.''
Sound take, in our eyes.
The prize of the collection, which can be found here (and can't really be directly linked to), is Oscar's 1964 NBA MVP trophy, which has a minimum starter's bid of $20,000. Dr. J.'s 1981 NBA MVP trophy fetched over $177,000 last year, so it's fair to guess that the price should hit six figures for Robertson's award. Of course, our favorite item on the list is what appears to be a piece of protective headgear that was apparently designed by a medieval dungeon master, on sale for at least $2,500.
Robertson hopes to take in over half a million from his attic's bounty, and he fully admits that money is the deciding factor in this instance.
"Everybody has financial problems,'' Robertson said. "This is America. These aren't the best of times. One of my companies is doing well and the other not so well. The money is important. Money is always important. Let's just get real. People get sick, people retire. Money is important in the country we live in."
David Thompson (Getty Images)Oscar is not alone in attempting to secure a more comfortable retirement with an auction. ABA and NBA legend David Thompson is also selling some of his memorabilia, telling Tomasson that he got the idea from some of his fellow ABA legends:
"I never really wore the [1974 NCAA championship] ring and a lot of this stuff was just sitting in my parents' house in Shelby (N.C.),'' Thompson said of the house once occupied by his now-deceased parents in his hometown, an hour from where Thompson now lives in Charlotte. "I had talked to some guys like (former NBA and ABA stars) George Gervin and Bobby Jones, and they had sold some stuff. A lot of guys are trying to do some retirement planning, so I thought it was a good idea.''
Seems like one. It'd be a cogent karmic decision for N.C. State, the university Thompson led to the 1974 title, to buy the ring back. It would also make perfect sense for Robertson's old NBA franchise — now the Sacramento Kings — to purchase some of his wares.
Then again, the Kings can't even afford good enough tape to keep tarps in place these days, so don't hold your breath.
The bidding ends on Dec. 1st. Aim high, NBA fans.