UPDATE: A Kentucky spokesman said Tuesday afternoon that Walter McCarty has succeeded in getting his 1996 title rings returned to him. Brooks Downing, president of the sports agency firm BD Global, tweeted Monday that McCarty's rings were for sale as a result of a "misunderstanding with a family member" and that the former Kentucky star is working diligently to get them back.
A voicemail left for Downing on Monday evening seeking further details was not immediately returned.
When members of Kentucky's 1996 championship team received rings from the school on Feb. 28 to commemorate their national title, former Wildcats forward Walter McCarty was one of the most vocal about what the honor meant to him.
"Any excuse we can have to get together, it’s awesome,” McCarty told Central Kentucky News that day. "We have had a tremendous time here. Getting the ring and walking on that court again in front of Big Blue Nation was awesome."
McCarty's comments make it more surprising that his new ring and the one he received from the NCAA 17 years ago are both apparently up for sale. A photo of them at a Boston pawn shop surfaced this weekend and both are being listed on eBay, the NCAA ring selling for $3,400 and the school ring for $5,200.
Why would a player who spent 10 seasons in the NBA and three as an assistant coach at Louisville be selling his rings? It's easy to jump to the conclusion he needs the money given how many professional athletes have gone broke in recent years, but we certainly don't know that for sure.
Maybe McCarty gave his rings to a friend who put them up for auction. Maybe they were stolen. Heck, maybe he just doesn't value memorabilia as much as the rest of us.
Regardless, the rings are a nice piece of history available for a wealthy Kentucky fan. Someone with $8,600 burning a hole in his pocket can soon own two one-of-a-kind items commemorating the success of one of modern-day college basketball's most formidable teams.
(Thanks, Kentucky Sports Radio)