Summer Premier Auction 2020

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 8/28/2020

In 1977, McDonalds began sponsoring the selection of a Boys High School Basketball All-America team with an All-Star game at the end of the high school season to benefit the Ronald McDonald House charity program. This East vs. West formatted game allowed college basketball's top incoming players to showcase their talent and compete against one another prior to their freshman seasons. The inaugural team featured a tall point guard from Lansing, Michigan named Earvin Johnson. Two years later, an incredible senior class with Isiah Thomas, Dominique Wilkins, James Worthy and Ralph Sampson highlighted the squad. And in 1981, a young man from Laney High School in Wilmington, NC, named Mike Jordan took center stage. UNC head coach Dean Smith's star recruit was set to join the likes of Worthy and Sam Perkins and would help lead the Tar Heels to an NCAA title as a freshman. 

 

On April 11, 1981, at Henry Levitt Arena in Wichita, KS, Michael Jordan got to play against the best of the best at the scholastic level. Among the 25 players selected were two other future Naismith Hall of Famers: Chris Mullin (Xaverian H.S., Brooklyn, NY) and Patrick Ewing (Cambridge Rindge & Latin School, Cambridge, MA). Other future NBA players included Adrian Branch, Greg Dreiling, Ed Pinckney, Stuart Gray, Anthony Jones, Sam Vincent, Milt Wagner (father of Dajuan Wagner) and two of MJ's future Bulls teammates, Bill Wennington and Ennis Whatley. Presented here is an official 1981 McDonald's All-America Team roster sheet signed by 20 of the 25 members including a barely legal, 18-year-old Michael Jordan. To our knowledge, it's the first example ever offered publicly.

 

Amazingly enough, our consignor was there to get each autograph in person and witness one heck of a basketball game. Jordan scored 30 points, including the tying and winning free throws with 11 seconds left as the East beat the West, 96-95. He went 13-19 from the floor and made all four foul shots, dishing out four assists and getting six steals. Apparently that was good enough for MVP honors, which was shared by Branch and local star Aubrey Sherrod instead. MJ’s 30-point performance in the ’81 McDonalds game stood as the record for 17 years until former Indiana Pacers big man Jonathan Bender tallied 31 in the 1999 contest.

The 25 individual face shots of all 25 All-Americans appear in black and white on a standard-sized 8.5x11 sheet, with each of their high schools and hometowns noted. The reverse side is blank. Jordan's teenage-era, 5/10 faded marker signature is done right across his face; he was just a novice signer at that point. In the same row, Mullin has signed above his picture in similar strength. Eight signatures were done in much stronger blue ink. Michael’s soon-to-be UNC roommate in Chapel Hill, Buzz Peterson, signed right below MJ. Among the five guys who did not sign were Ewing (a trend that would continue) and Pinckney. There are several pinholes at the top and a few at the bottom from being proudly posted on the wall or a bulletin board. It has survived the past 40 years quite well, all things considered. There are no tears or creases. It presents EX-NM. We have never seen one of these '81 McDonald's game roster sheets before, not in our auction or anyone else’s from our online research. Includes full LOA from Beckett.

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Minimum Bid: $1,500
Final prices include buyers premium.: $3,510
Number Bids: 8
Auction closed on Friday, August 28, 2020.
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