Yes, we’ve all had these insatiable cravings for new things; however, some people yearn for items that are a little more expensive than others. Take just this past weekend, when the jersey worn by former Duke basketball great Christian Laettner when he made “The Shot” against Kentucky in the 1992 NCAA tournament was sold for a cool $119,500.
Although Laettner's jersey was the most high profile item, it was Jackie Robinson’s 1947 Rookie of the Year Award that was sold for the most money, raking in $401,968. This, of course, pales in comparison to items such as Babe Ruth’s 1920 New York Yankees jersey ($4.4 million) and Mark McGwire’s 70th home run ball ($3 million).
Bottom line, people pay some serious money just to have a bit of history placed in their home. That got me thinking, if I had the disposable income necessary to buy Duke basketball paraphernalia, what would I buy?
A signed picture of J.J. Redick being cocky — J.J. Redick was my favorite basketball player growing up and he still may be my favorite Blue Devil. There’s the dominant play on the court, where he averaged roughly 20 points per game and made a Division I-record 457 3-pointers over the course of his career. But it was how Redick carried himself that made him one of the most hated players in Duke history. If I had to pick one picture that really encapsulates Redick’s illustrious career, I’d have to go with this one. That is, unless anyone has a Michael Vick-esque middle finger picture at UNC or Maryland; that signed picture would be priceless.
Brian Zoubek’s beard-growing ability—Gentlemen, I don’t know about you, but I wish I could grow a beard as magnificent as Brian Zoubek's. Is it the best-looking beard in Duke basketball history? No. Josh Hairston’s beard takes the crown in that category. But Zoubeard represented so many things. The triumph of playing a truly memorable 2010 NCAA Tournament. The scruffiness of a worker, in Zoubek’s case crashing the boards. In many ways, Zoubek’s fully grown beard was as much of a story during the NCAA tourney than the team itself. So maybe this is infeasible, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't spend a lot of money on it. Zoubek’s pastry business may have fallen through, but his untamed beard will live on forever.
Crazy Towel Guy’s towel from Sean Dockery's buzzer beater—Imagine the wide array of towel’s Herb Neubauer has. The man has been conducting Cameron with his famous white towel for 26 years now, with chants of “Cra-zy Towel Guy” echoing through the stadium every home game. So why did I pick this particular game? It was the first incredible buzzer beater I remember seeing live, and it had everything. Dockery nailed a half-court shot at the buzzer, prompting students to actually storm the court in Cameron Indoor. There are too many court stormings these days, but this moment warranted it. Dockery's heave, to this day, is one of my favorite Duke basketball moments.
Fine Art from Kyle Singler—Many recognize Kyle Singler as the basketball star who guided Duke to a national championship in 2010. Others see only a vampire-like complexion that surely scared opponents and gave him an extra foot of space to work with on his silky jumper. What made Singler unique in college, though, was his artsy side. Singler has painted murals, designed Duke men’s basketball banners, and everything in between. Why waste my money on Monet or Manet when I could have a Singler hanging above my fireplace at home? Eloquent, quaint, it will speak to me.
Laettner’s jumper was one of the greatest moments in sports history, so it’s no surprise that fans jumped on the chance to purchase the jersey. But with so many wonderful pieces that could also go up for auction, why stop there? Keep on buying everyone, or J.J. may have something to say about it.