I remember being on the basketball team in 8th grade, when a player on our team told us his dad bought him a pair of $100 Air Jordan sneakers. It blew me away, especially since they were an ugly red and black high-top. I was happy with my $18 Nikes (on sale at Big Five). As a basketball player my entire life, I've never understood the fascination with shoes. Now, I remember somebody had an autographed Bob Lanier shoe (for you young folks, he was a star center with the Bucks, who had something insane like a size 20 shoe). Recently on one of my radio shows, I interviewed former center Don Kojis (two time all-star...if anybody wants his autograph let me know and I'll get you one for free). He was given a shoe of Shaquille O'Neil's by coach Pat Riley. I have a picture holding the size 24. Man, if ever there was a little old lady that lived in a shoe...she could really have a lot of room in one of his.
Anyway, with Kobe Bryant retiring after 20 years, Nike needed a way to capitalize. So, the Kobe 11 Shoe is being unveiled in a most unique way. Bryant has autographed 20 pairs, and they're going to be hidden in 20 different cities. A scavenger hunt will take place to get them, with Bryant and Nike asking fans questions on social media, and clues being given out.
December 22nd is when the fun begins, and...a huge sneaker makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the basketball fan in your life. For those that want to buy the shoe, you'll have to wait for the start of the new year.
Now, onto other sports autographs -- Johnny Manziel. Since he keeps getting into trouble for partying, I'd like to get him to sign a bottle of Johnny Walker Red. Well, after the Browns beat the 49ers recently, Johnny Football stopped to sign autographs by the tunnel. A guy named Caleb Leach -- no relation to Robin -- acted like somebody living the lifestyles of the rich and famous. He handed Manziel a $100 bill to sign. He chuckled, signed it, and wrote "Money Manziel" in the corner.
He's been offered a thousand dollars for it, which he should take. It's highly unlikely Manziel will be an autograph worth other quarterbacks like Johnny Unitas. If he gets his act together (coaches demoted him to 3rd string a month ago after he was partying), it might be worth something, but most collectors would rather have an autograph on a jersey, 8x10, or football. [side note: isn't it also against the law to write on money?]
This reminds me of a story I've told before, but...I had a substitute teacher in 9th grade who told a story about being a teacher in Buffalo, New York. For a field trip, she took her students to see the Pro Bowl players practicing before the big game. The players all came over to sign autographs, and the only one she cared about was her hometown hero -- O.J. Simpson, the best running back in football (for you young ones...before he murdered two people, he was actually a stud running back). All she had in her purse was a $20 bill, so she had him sign that.
When the students all returned to the school bus, one kid was crying. When she asked what was wrong, he said he wasn't able to get Simpson's autograph, and all the other kids did. Feeling bad, she gave him the 20. Yet she started regretting that, and sent the Bills a letter telling them what happened and enclosed a $20 bill asking that he sign that.
She got it back a few weeks later, with "O.J. Simpson" on it.
Unfortunately for her, it was stamped on, not signed.
She spent it the following day.