Sports Shortz -- The Shoe Edition (Kobe Bryant, Johnny Manziel)

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.

Views: 159

Tags: Air Jordan, Don Kojis, Johnny Manziel, Johnny Unitas, Kobe Bryant, Nike, O.J. Simpson, Pat Riley, Shaq O'Neil

Comment by Coachgd on December 19, 2015 at 4:02pm

Being from the Cleveland area, of course the Johnny Football story was all over the news.  Johnny actually signed the hundy before the game, and some fans here gave him some flack for not concentrating on the game.  I say big deal, it was like an hour before kick off.  I agree with you, if I was that guy, I would turn that 100 into a thousand if someone wanted to pay it.  It is a one of a kind item though!

One time in the mid 90's when the Indians were making their run, the Tribe had a fan fest and Dick Jacobs, the owner of the team, was walking around.  I didn't have anything for him to sign so I pulled out a dollar bill and asked him to sign it.  He grabbed it, smiled and put it in his pocket then said "I need every one of these to sign Albert Belle!"  We both laughed, then he pulled it out of his pocket and signed it for me.  As it turned out, I guess Dick didn't have enough money as Albert went to the White Sox.

I also have a good O.J. story, but I don't want to hijack your blog!

Comment by Josh Board on January 1, 2016 at 3:37pm

Coach...come on! Hijacking threads is what this world (well, this website) is all about. The more stories, the merrier. Let's hear it.

Comment by Coachgd on January 1, 2016 at 8:19pm

I was first into collecting sports autographs.  After a few years, I decided I wanted to start a project that was kind of unique- so I bought a full sized authentic Heisman Trophy helmet.  There were some Heisman winners are also Hall of Famers, so I figured I could get some of those guys during induction weekend in Canton.  Over the years I have gotten Staubach, Dorsett, Marcus Allen (jerk), and Paul Hornung either in the old tent sessions or with a paid admission to the hall.  Pretty good deal!

Also, Tri-Star was making an annual stop in Cleveland and they usually had some Heisman winners on their lineup and I figured I could get quite a few.

Like usual, once I start something, I get addicted.  So I saw that the National was being held in Chicago one year and they had a lot of Heisman winners at the show so I decided to make the 6 hour drive.  

Most of the Heisman guys were signing on Sat. but I decided to go to the show on Friday and walk around to see what what there.  As I turned the corner, I literally run into O.J.!  He and his crew were setting up their own table and he was not a part of the signings that were advertised.  Of course I left my helmet in my car, which was parked a few blocks away.  Yes, I was conflicted for a moment.  Do I pay a (not guilty) murderer to sign the helmet?  So I go running down the street to my car to get my Heisman helmet, when would I ever get to get his autograph?

I make it back in time to get him to sign my helmet and I also bought a throw back mini helmet and had him put "Juice" on it.   The guys running the show kicked OJ from the venue.  On the way out he said that he would be signing from his hotel room across the street.  As it turns out, I guess he needed the money.

I decided to get my picture taken with him as well.  I do have a sick sense of humor sometimes, and I decided not to tell any of my friends.  I waited until Christmas and sent out Christmas cards with the picture of me and O.J. on the front that said "Have a killer Christmas!"  Oh, the phone calls I got!  "Is that real?"  "Is that a cardboard cut out?"  "You didn't really meet OJ did you?"  "Holy crap, that's funny!"  

Gotta love my friends.

My Heisman helmet is now signed by 44 guys who won the trophy.  I think there are only a few out there that has OJ's auto on it.

Comment by Josh Board on January 1, 2016 at 9:53pm

Okay, that is the best story ever. "have a killer Christmas." Wow. That is awesome.

My friend had moved to UTAH, and a few days after the "high speed chase," his wife bought a brand new white Ford Bronco. Not to be funny, she didn't even realize it. She got home and he was saying, "What the hell?!" So, he was going to get a personalized license plate that read "NOT OJS" but...he ended up not doing it.

Comment by Josh Board on January 1, 2016 at 9:54pm

Oh, I like the part also where you said you "get addicted," or whatever, because I do the same thing. I will have a movie poster signed by one of the actors I interviewed, and I get obsessed with wanting as many of the rest of the cast to then sign it.

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