Swen Nater played 11 seasons in the ABA and NBA and is the only player to have won rebounding titles in both leagues. The 6’ 11” center from the Netherlands played his college ball at UCLA under Coach Wooden, winning two NCAA titles as Bill Walton’s backup. Nater was the first and only NBA 1st round draft pick who never started a collegiate game until Devin Booker (UK) joined him on that short list in 2015. Instead of suiting up for the Milwaukee Bucks, Nater opted for the ABA and signed with the Virginia Squires before being traded to the San Antonio Spurs where he promptly took home 1974 ABA Rookie of the Year honors. The two-time ABA All-Star started the 1975-76 season with New York Nets and was traded back to the Squires on January 7, 1976, for the second half of the season, which turned out to be the team’s last. On May 11, 1976, the Virginia Squires went out of business. The American Basketball Association folded that offseason and only four teams merged into the NBA—the Squires were not one of them.
This lot presents, by all accounts, the only 1975-76 Virginia Squires game-worn road jersey to ever surface in the hobby, one hailing from a popular ABA star to boot. The unique style was only worn for that final ABA 1975-76 campaign, of which Nater played 14 away games for the Squires. This blue and orange knit jersey has “VIRGINIA” and his No. “10” sewn on the front in white tackle twill, with white, blue and orange piping around the collar and armpits. The back No. “10” comes in blue tackle twill. Pearson Sporting Goods manufacturer’s tagging is located inside the left rear tail, with an orange felt strip tag indicating “44-75” for size and year. Swen Nater has signed the “1” on the front in 9/10 blue marker. The rare jersey exhibits moderate wear with light pilling and little fraying to the fabric. Remarkably well-kept with all-original numbers and letters, it was procured in 2016 from Nater’s personal collection. Simply a stunning ABA gamer—one of only a handful of Squires examples that even exists—that is sure to get the undivided attention of any basketball collector looking for the next big score.
Includes LOA signed by Swen Nater. Autograph pre-certified by PSA/DNA.