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Hey, remember in March when Kobe Bryant wore a mask?! He had a clear one, and then a black one that made him look like a crimefighter, and finally decided to play without it. Throughout the entire ordeal, we laughed, because Kobe is such a serious competitor that any accessory that makes him less cool becomes pretty hilarious.
For Kobe, though, the mask was just a tool he needed to perform — he held no special attachment to it, comedic or otherwise. So, with an eye towards helping the community, he decided to put the plastic mask up for auction on eBay to benefit the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation's Youth Homelessness Initiative. Apparently Lakers fans care about their Kobe memorabilia, because the mask sold for a hefty sum. From Kevin Ding for OCRegister.com:
The mask worn this season by Kobe Bryant to protect the nose Dwyane Wade broke in the All-Star Game was won via eBay auction by a bidder for $67,100 Tuesday.
The auction was held to benefit the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation's Youth Homelessness Initiative. The primary goal is to have a measurable, positive impact on youth homelessness in Los Angeles.
The week-long auction had 20 bidders and 129 separate bids. The top bid entering Tuesday was $22,222 but rose to $67,100 at the end, with the final bid taking a $67,000 bid and upping it by $100.
It's fairly amazing to consider that a Lakers fan would pay that kind of money for a mask Kobe used for a little more than a week, but their devotion apparently knows no bounds. Plus, for all we know, the buyer attends lots of masked balls and has been looking for the perfect conversation starter. Those events can get so awkward!
It's also worth wondering how much other NBA protective masks would go for at auction. Al Harrington of the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers' opponent in the first round of the playoffs, is currently wearing one, but something tells me an auction in Colorado for that piece would probably yield a small fraction of Kobe's price, which would still be helpful for charities but not quite as blog-worthy. Tyler Hansbrough would probably sell his for $20 worth of candy. Rip Hamilton, of course, would never put his on the market, because at this point his masks are the equivalent of a childhood binkie or teddy bear.
Jokes aside, it's great that Kobe used this brief tangent as a chance to help the less fortunate. Hopefully more players will follow suit. Something tells me that LeBron James' triple-wide headband would go for quite a bit. There are a lot of balding basketball players in the world.
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