Isiah Thomas is set to get his stolen 1984 All-Star Game MVP trophy returned, just days after it was listed for sale at an auction.
The trophy, he said, was stolen from his former high school — St. Joseph’s in Westchester, Illinois — on the night that his former coach, Gene Pingatore, died in 2019. He had loaned the trophy, along with others, to the school.
Thomas tweets for help
Thomas saw the trophy listed for sale at Heritage Auctions on Twitter on Monday and reached out to the company for help.
This trophy was stolen from St. Joseph High School the night Mr. Pingatore my coach died it belongs to me. You stole my trophy please return it! Let it be known @HeritageAuction @nba @nbatv @NBAonTNT https://t.co/G1SO0drszo— Isiah Thomas (@IsiahThomas) August 11, 2020
The auction company, according to ESPN, then reached out to Thomas, law enforcement and an official from the high school to verify Thomas’ claims. The trophy was then removed once they did so.
“Heritage Auctions does not sell stolen property, so we take any claims of title seriously," Heritage’s sports auctions director Chris Ivy said, via ESPN. "Even though each consignor warrants clear title when material is consigned to auction, we do have issues of title or potential stolen property come up a handful of times per year. In those instances, we investigate to validate any claims, and if the title is in question, then the lot is removed from auction until the dispute can be settled."
Thomas had other items stolen that night, including his Hall of Fame plaque. It’s unclear if those were found, too.
Thomas played in the league from 1981-1994 and helped lead the Detroit Pistons to two titles in 1989 and 1990. The 12-time All-Star averaged 19.2 points and 9.3 assists per game over his 13 seasons in the league, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
"For me and my family, the silver lining in all of this is that it showed up at [Heritage Auctions],” Thomas said, via ESPN. "We never would have known, so we are grateful and I am thankful that the item was found and will be returned."
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