Spring Premier Auction 2020

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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 5/2/2020

Who could ever have imagined that the day Kobe Bryant is inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame this August, the hoops legend will only be there in spirit. The helicopter crash that tragically took his life along with 13-year-old daughter Gianna on January 26th sent shockwaves across the globe. Kobe was not just one of the greatest basketball players to walk this earth. Among athletes, there may never be a more celebrated international icon. On the court, the Black Mamba was the ultimate competitor, a killer like his idol Michael Jordan. Off it, he was a workaholic and obsessive student of the game, a devout Catholic and loving family man with so much more left to offer.

Kobe’s game-used memorabilia was already sacred while he was alive. In the short period since he has passed, it has become one of the most pursued categories for basketball collectors. Jerseys and sneakers worn by Kobe typically set the bar, so it takes something truly special from his career to stand out and separate itself into a category all its own. Presented here is definitely that one-of-a-kind piece. With a heavy heart, SCP Auctions is honored to present a huge 3x3 foot chunk of the actual high school floor upon which the legendary career of Kobe Bean Bryant began.

Born in Philadelphia, Kobe grew up a Lakers fan and started playing hoops as a three-year-old. At age six, his father Joe “Jellybean” Bryant retired from the NBA and moved the family to Italy to continue his pro career. That’s where Kobe became fluent in both Italian and the fundamentals of basketball, developing his footwork and other skillsets at a young age that would elevate his game to a whole other level once his growth spurt came. The Bryant family moved back to Philly when Kobe was thirteen. In the fall of 1992, he enrolled at Lower Merion High School in nearby Ardmore, PA, and became the first freshman in decades to start on the varsity squad. From his sophomore year on, the Aces had a 77-13 record. As a junior he was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year and as a senior he took home National Player the Year honors from both Naismith and Gatorade. His 1995-96 senior season was especially sweet for the Lower Merion faithful within “Main Gym” as Kobe led the Aces to their first PA state title in 53 years! During his final two years of high school, Kobe played all five positions and averaged 31 points, 11 rebounds, six assists, four blocks and three steals. He scored a total of 2,883 points in high school, more than fellow PA legend Wilt Chamberlain.

Kobe’s high school coach Gregg Downer, now in his 30th year at Lower Merion, described Kobe games as “rock concerts” in the 1990s. “I’ve seen a lot of high school basketball, but I’ve never seen anyone as good as Kobe was. I knew it was kind of a once in a lifetime opportunity. He was doing things as a basketball player that I had never seen.” Coach Downer admits that he owes his career longevity to Bryant, who “taught me how to win.”

In 2010, Lower Merion constructed a new basketball gym thanks to Kobe’s generation donation of a half-million dollars to his alma mater. The new court is now named Kobe Bryant Gymnasium in his honor. It’s unclear what happened to most of the old 'Main Gym' (as it was called) wooden floor where so many memories of Kobe’s early greatness were made. Fortunately, the Los Angeles Lakers (presumably with Kobe's help) were able to reserve one 3’ by 3’ maroon section – most likely from one of the similar colored free-throw lanes – and in 2013 it was put into a Lakers Foundation Auction. Kobe added his massive autograph to this very floor piece in nearly perfect 9-10/10 black marker. It is one of the largest "Kobe" signatures we’ve ever seen, stretching 24" across with his 'K' rising nearly six inches. Certainly an appropriately sized autograph for such a museum-worthy artifact. Lucky for us, the winner of that Lakers Foundation charity auction has come forward to give Kobe fans and collectors this amazing opportunity. The wooden floor measures 35.5" by 38.5" by 1.5” thick, with the nine square foot section weighing 37 pounds. It shows obvious game use, yet the paint and wood remain very well-preserved with just some minor aging and storage wear. Online records indicate that only one other Lower Merion floor piece of any size has surfaced, and that was in 2012.

Includes LOA from L.A. Lakers as well as full LOAs from Beckett (A31078) and PSA/DNA (AH04386) for the impressive signature.

Bidding
Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $10,000
Final prices include buyers premium.: $0
Number Bids: 0
Auction closed on Saturday, May 2, 2020.
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