December 10, 2010
I think we all know that you can't put a price on love. The Knack taught us that way back in 1980, and they're the guys who wrote "My Sharona," so obviously they were some dudes who knew what was up.
The things that make our pulses race and fill our hearts 'til they're set to burst affect us in ways we can't quite describe or explain. When you have the opportunity to secure one of them, money is no object.
This is probably why someone chose to pay $7,520 for the privilege of owning a blue Washington Wizards road jersey worn by John Wall(notes), the top overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, during his first NBA game back in October. At least, I assume that's why.
Because otherwise — if you don't love John Wall in a way that makes perfect sense to you, but seems curious or even inscrutable to your family, friends and strangers on the street — then man, that's an awful lot of money to spend on a basketball jersey, isn't it?
The jersey was put up for bid on NBA Auctions, a league-sanctioned eBay-style memorabilia marketplace where you can also bid on pottery-making sessions with Ryan Anderson(notes). The sale was part of the "2010-11 NBA and MeiGray Group Game-Worn Jersey Authentication Program's Kia NBA Tip-Off '10 Game-Worn Jersey Auction," which is really a mouthful of a title:
For the first time, fans of all 30 teams will have the chance to own game-worn jerseys of the starting five players on their team's opening-night roster. This auction marks the first time that NBA Revolution 30 jerseys, introduced across the League this season and featuring adidas' newest technology, will be available for auction.
Wall wore this jersey, "a size XL+4," during the Wizards' season-opening 112-83 defeat at the hands of the Orlando Magic. The No. 1 pick out of the University of Kentucky logged 35 minutes in his debut, notching 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting with nine assists, three steals and a rebound.
It wasn't a great night, but because he's a top pick who's expected to become a transcendent superstar whose name will echo in athletic eternity, it was a memorable and historic night, which is all that matters in the context of collectibles.
More on the bidding from Brett J. Lewis at sports card and memorabilia site Cardboard Connection:
On November 16th, a blue game-worn Washington Wizards jersey worn by Wall during his first ever NBA game hit the auction block. 28 bids and a little over two weeks later, the auction came to close on December 2nd, with the jersey selling for $7,520. [...]
The $7,520 final sale price currently ranks Wall third behind LeBron and Kobe's opening night threads.
If you're wondering, LeBron James'(notes) jersey from his debut game as a member of the Miami Heat fetched $14,600 at auction (better than $10,000 more than his vintage high school jersey commanded this summer), while Kobe Bryant's(notes) Ring Night garb sold for $10,020. Rounding out the top-five auctioned jerseys to date are the opening-night duds of the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant(notes) ($6,600) and James' Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade(notes) ($6,060.01)
Not to be Johnny Tell-People-How-To-Spend-Their-Scratch, but those numbers seem to be obscene, insane sums of cash to spend on sweat-stained tank tops, and especially on sweat-stained tank tops that one assumes the purchasers aren't, like, wearing to games to root on the players whose names are stretched across the shoulders.
To me, spending four or five figures on something as random as a jersey that a player wore on the first night of the basketball season is tantamount to collecting a large amount of money in a pile and setting it ablaze just to enjoy the smell of freshly burned legal tender and the peculiar tint the green dye tosses into the flame. Then again, other people's money is A) none of my business and B) a pretty sweet early '90s DeVito vehicle, so if you're the sort that digs on the rush of the auction, has tons of extra cash laying around and can't live without an ostentatious memento that you could theoretically wear, then go nuts, dude.
And hey, if you're one of those types of folks and you've been looking for a way to tell me you appreciate everything I do here, you've got until next Thursday to lock down that Landry Fields(notes) jersey I've had my eye on. Only $510 (at press time) for the debut shirt worn by the NBA's Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for November? What a steal!