Topline

A piece of the hardwood on which Kobe Bryant played his final NBA game is now up for sale, and auction house Heritage Auctions estimates it could sell for more than half a million dollars, the latest indication that the sports memorabilia market is thriving.

Key Facts

Kobe Bryant, who died January 26, 2020, when his helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, suited up in his Lakers’ uniform for the final time on April 14th, 2016, the last day of the 2015-16 NBA season.

Incredibly, Kobe poured in 60 points in the final contest of his legendary career and carried an inferior Los Angeles Lakers team to an improbable comeback victory over the Utah Jazz.

The numbers Bryant wore during his career, 8 and 24, were painted on the Staples Center floor that night, and Bryant signed his name inside the number 8 following the contest’s conclusion.

The piece of the floor containing the signed No. 8 consists of four panels, each measuring four-by-eight feet, and was initially auctioned off by the Lakers Youth Foundation for $179,100 in March of 2016.

As of Wednesday morning, the current bid for the item on the Heritage Auctions website was up to $210,000, with the lot set to remain open for another 17 days.

Heritage Auctions says the seller will donate 10% of the proceeds from the sale to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in Bryant’s memory that provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes.

Key Background:

Despite many sectors of the worldwide economy being decimated by the coronavirus pandemic, the trading card and memorabilia markets have been booming this summer. Last month, a signed rookie card by Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout sold for a record-setting $3.93 million at auction. It was the third time since May that a new record was set after a different Trout rookie had sold for $900,000 and a LeBron James 2003-04 Upper Deck rookie card sold for $1.845 million in July. Since Byrant’s untimely death, the value of Kobe memorabilia has increased dramatically

Tangent:

Bryant was 37 years and 234 days old on the night of his final NBA game, making him, by far, the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 60 points in a single contest. Wilt Chamberlain is the only other player to score 60+ after turning even 32 years of age. Kobe’s total is also the most points ever scored by an NBA player in his finale.

Further Reading:

Mike Trout Rookie Card Sells For $3.93 Million, Breaking The All-Time Record (Forbes) 

Hardwood floor from Kobe Bryant’s final game expected to auction for more than $500,000 (CNN)

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