Ladies and gentlemen, we have a mystery on our hands.
A player on the self-proclaimed greatest NCAA title team of all time has put his championship ring up for sale, but we don't know which member of Kentucky's historic 1996 squad needs money more than memories. And before you readers scream "Antoine Walker" all at once, let's review the roster of that Kentucky team and consider some of the possible culprits.
Antoine Walker: What's keeping Walker's odds from being even higher is we'd be surprised if he hadn't already sold his ring. The former Kentucky forward and NBA all-star was charged with three felony counts of writing bad checks to repay gambling debts last year and filed for bankruptcy in May with an unbelievable $12.7 million debt.
Ron Mercer: A near-certain NBA star who somehow washed out of the league by 2005, Mercer is a good sleeper pick. He's only resurfaced publicly when he was involved in a scuffle outside a strip club in 2007 and when he was referenced in a rap song written by J.Cole. (Cause I was broke, plus the weed that I would smoke would make it worser. Lord please let my problems disappear like Ron Mercer.)
Walter McCarty: Money probably isn't an issue for McCarty after spending 10 seasons in the NBA before transitioning into coaching, but perhaps the former first-round draft pick's allegiances have changed. Could spending three seasons as an assistant coach in enemy territory at Louisville have prompted McCarty to rid himself of all reminders of his college days in Lexington?
Jason Lathrem: Whereas nine members of the '96 Kentucky team played in the NBA, Lathrem transferred to Belmont after logging playing time in four games and scoring just two points. Still, Lathrem has bragging rights over the likes of John Wall or Rajon Rondo because he has a ring. Would you give that up for a few thousand dollars?
Jeff Sheppard: A guy who still lives in Kentucky and helped lead the Wildcats to two national titles and three straight Final Fours probably gets offers for free meals or drinks anytime he sets foot in a restaurant. Still if Sheppard sold one of his rings, at least he'd still have another.
Tony Delk: Even if Tony Delk needed money despite a successful 10-year NBA career, you'd have to imagine he'd sell vital organs on the black market before he sold his '96 championship ring. The former Kentucky guard was named the Most Outstanding player at the Final Four that season, an achievement that remains his signature accomplishment despite a very respectable pro career.
Mark Pope: The former big man was the SEC's scholar athlete of the year in 1996, played seven years in the NBA, spent several years in medical school and now coaches on Jeff Bzdelik's staff at Wake Forest. Does this sound like a guy who needs to sell his championship ring? Didn't think so.
(Thanks, Kentucky Sports Radio)