James, Jordan, Obama linked in auction of sports memorabilia

·2 min read
Basketball jerseys worn by LeBron James (left) and former US President Barack Obama (right) are among items due to go under the hammer at an auction in Beverly Hills next month
Basketball jerseys worn by LeBron James (left) and former US President Barack Obama (right) are among items due to go under the hammer at an auction in Beverly Hills next month

A LeBron James autographed rookie NBA season Cleveland Cavaliers jersey and a high school basketball vest worn by Barack Obama are among items expected to generate buzz at a December 4 auction in Beverly Hills.

James' jersey, signed and gifted by the NBA legend during his 2003-04 rookie season, is considered the earliest known LeBron James autograph on a game-worn jersey according to Juliens Auctions, which is estimate to fetch between $100,000 to $200,000 when it goes under the hammer.

Since coming into the league as a highly touted rookie, James has won four NBA titles with three different teams, most recently with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020 in the NBA's quarantine bubble in Orlando, Florida.

He earned a fourth NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award -- second only to the six of NBA icon Michael Jordan and reignited the debate as to whether he has, or can, supplant Jordan as the NBA's greatest ever.

Along the way he's become an outspoken voice for racial justice, urging minority communities to participate in the political process.

His No. 23 jersey will be auctioned alongside a No. 23 vest worn by former US president Obama from his 1979 senior year at Punahou School and the No. 23 worn by Jordan on his official 1984 "Signing Day" with the Chicago Bulls.

Other NBA history featured in the auction includes an official game ball signed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and used in his final regular season game and used by him to score the final points of a record-breaking career.

The Spalding ball is inscribed "Last Reg Season Game Ball 4/89" and "38,387 Pts Lifetime" and is printed with "Los Angeles Lakers."

It's mounted on a custom Lakers wooden pedestal engraved with a high-relief Lakers logo. Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time NBA champion and six-time Most Valuable Player, played his final season NBA game on April 23, 1989 -- his 1,560th regular season game.

The ball is estimated to sell for between $300,000-$500,000.

The auction also features artifacts from Brazil's 1970 World Cup triumph, including a set of confidential documents unopened for more than 50 years detailing results of health examinations of players including Pele, Roberto Rivelino, Carlos Alberto, and Tostao, along with details of the team's training techniques.

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