Kobe Bryant -- His First Autograph and His First Lambo !

I was saddened by the death of Kobe Bryant, but I have to admit, I always hated the guy. I was a hardcore Lakers fan from the time I was 8 (that’s over 30 years). I remember when the Lakers drafted Magic Johnson and how fun those times were. I met Magic on one occasion, driving two hours to L.A., getting a ticket, and having my car towed (as a teenager), only to have him say he’s only signing his new book not the other things I brought (he was still my favorite player). I met many Lakers over the years that I got autographs from. After games, Kurt Rambis always came out and signed. I got Byron Scott before he got into his red Mercedes after a game (with his name painted on the side). Kareem refused to sign for me, but after one game against the San Diego Clippers, my friend got it (and he traded it to me for a Tom Seaver baseball card; that was his favorite pitcher). When I got a job in media, I was able to interview Jerry West (the logo of the NBA). He’s one of my favorite Lakers, and he signed two basketball cards for me after the interview. I interviewed James Worthy, who was quiet, but also signed for me.

Had I met Kobe, sure...I would have gotten his autograph. But I would have asked him why he’s such a selfish player. He forced shots, didn’t pass the ball in situations where he should. I won’t get into my Kobe rant now, but...as great of an athlete as he was, he didn’t play the sport the way it should be played. And, he did many things that hurt the Lakers. He’s the reason I stopped caring about the team I had spent my whole life loving.

But I didn’t write this to complain about that. It’s to complain about something else. People that went to his “celebration of life” at the Staples center on Monday, are selling items from the event. On eBay, TMZ reported that one item sold for over $2,000, but that now eBay has pulled items because it goes against a policy they have. TMZ, on their sports page, had a really interesting story about an item Iconic Auctions has.

It’s probably the first (certainly one of the earlies), autographs Kobe has ever signed. As a 13-year-old, he wrote in a middle school classmates yearbook, his signature, number, and mentions something about dunking over the kid. He also wrote “How bout those Lakers.”

I’ve always been intrigued by autograph inscriptions that have something to do with the field the famous person is in. It’s so much more interesting when you see a letter up for auction, and it’s signed by John Lennon, and he’s not just thanking a fan or sending instructions to a business manager….but is writing about Elvis or Chuck Berry, or wanting Eric Clapton to come perform a benefit concert with him. And who would have imagined that Kobe, at 13, would be writing about the Lakers -- and that he’d eventually play for them, and become one of the best ever (I still think he doesn’t even make the Top 7 Lakers of all-time, but again...another rant for another time).

Anyway, it’s not like Bryant was attending middle school in L.A. His dad, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant (who I met when he was a pudgy forward playing for the Clippers in the late ‘70s), was playing for the 76ers. That meant Bryant was going to school in Pennsylvania (Cnywyd Middle School, if ya care). And yes, he played on their basketball team. It’s the only photo of him in the yearbook, as he started the school in the middle of the year. I’m sure the kid that got that signed -- and is about to get a big payday for it -- had no idea that less than 5 years later, Kobe would be playing for the Lakers.

The auction house thinks this will go for around $20,000. I predict it reaches six figures. And I’m guessing the person that buys it, might also pick up that Lamborghini that was given a custom make-over in honor of the Black Mamba.

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Tags: Byron Scott, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant, Kurt Rambis, Lamborghini, Magic Johnson

Comment by BC on February 26, 2020 at 1:41pm

I'm going to guess it won't get to $20K. A signed year book just isn't as cool as a jersey or a ball, even if it's "his first autograph".

As for the car, it's a quick vinyl wrap job done by a dealer to get attention and move sitting inventory. One of the exotic cars Kobe owned would be the cooler buy, such as a unique Lamborghini he got for his wife. It was a Lamborghini Murcielago from the early 2000's and it only came in a manual transmission. The problem? His wife didn't know how to drive automatic. So Kobe paid crazy money for a one of kind transmission swap to make it automatic. No clue where that car is now.

Comment by Josh Board on February 26, 2020 at 2:37pm

You mean his wife didn't know how to drive stick, but yeah...I thought the Lambo that was the wrap job, kinda looks lame. If you're going to do a Kobe car, it should be ALL Lakers basketball stuff. Not photos of his daughter (despite how sweet that is).

I normally would agree with you regarding a yearbook, except for one thing. He's writing about the Lakers!!! That makes it truly unique. Now...a high school jersey from his basketball team, signed...perhaps more, but .... mark my words. It's going to get six-figures.

Comment by BC on February 26, 2020 at 5:58pm

Yeah, I meant she didn't know how to drive a stick, then it was converted to auto.

I think too much is being put on that Lakers inscription, even though that's pretty dang unique.


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