A New Jersey collectibles firm has found itself right in the middle of a lawsuit between NBA superstar Kobe Bryant and his mother Pamela.
Goldin Auctions was slated to sell more than 100 collectable items from Bryant’s career in the NBA, his years in high school and even a game worn jersey from his years living in Italy — the earliest known worn jersey of the Lakers shooting guard. Goldin gave Pamela a $450,000 advance and were going to give her a 20 percent commission rate on all sales of the memorabilia that was estimated to sell for $1.5 million dollars.
The auction was scheduled to take place this past Tuesday, but Bryant’s lawyers contacted the auction company and filed a cease-and-desist letter and ordered the items to be returned to him.
“Mr. Bryant’s personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it. “We look forward to resolving this legal matter through the legal system. There will be no further comment at this time,” said Bryant’s lawyer, Mark Campbell of Loeb & Loeb L.L.P., in a statement.
Following the cease-and-desist letter, Goldin filed a lawsuit against Bryant, asking a judge to clarify the ownership of the items in hopes to rescheduling the auction.
Should U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb, the judge who will decide on this case, rule in Goldin’s favor, the auction will contain items like high school jerseys, trophies, jackets and varsity letters. It will also include a Sonny Hill League Future Stars Champion trophy from 1992, an item from when he was in middle school.
The most prized possession of the auction would be a Bryant NBA championship ring, which Goldin founder Ken Goldin spoke very highly of.
“A team-issued championship ring is among the most treasured of all sports collectibles and the opportunity to own one from an active player as significant as Kobe Bryant is rare,” said Goldin in a company press release.
Pamela planned on using the money from the advance and the commission to buy a new house in Nevada. Neither the lawsuit or the cease-and-desist spoke about the relationship between Bryant and his mother, but the legal issues about memorabilia doesn’t suggest that it’s strong, especially considering Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away.
There has not been a date set for a decision on Goldin Auction’s request.