Settlement: Auction can include 6 Kobe items

Among the former possessions of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant for sale are uniforms from Lower Merion High School.
Among the former possessions of the Lakers' Kobe Bryant for sale are uniforms from Lower Merion High School. (MARK J. TERRILL / Associated Press)
Posted: June 12, 2013

Kobe Bryant's parents have apologized to him as part of the terms of settling the bicoastal lawsuits involving the sale of the basketball star's memorabilia at an auction house in Camden County.

"We regret our actions and statements related to the Kobe Bryant auction memorabilia," Joseph and Pamela Bryant wrote in a statement distributed by Kobe Bryant's lawyer, Mark D. Campbell of Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles.

Instead of selling more than 50 items consigned by his mother, the auction house will sell six, including some championship rings and two of Bryant's Lower Merion High School basketball uniforms.

The Los Angeles Lakers star declined to comment on the settlement, the statement said.

"We apologize for any misunderstanding and unintended pain we may have caused our son and appreciate the financial support that he has provided to us over the years," the statement said, quoting Bryant's parents.

Neither Campbell nor Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions L.L.C. in Berlin, would comment on the terms of the settlement.

"Goldin Auctions and Kobe Bryant have reached an amicable resolution. Goldin Auctions thanks Kobe Bryant for his assistance in resolving this matter," Goldin wrote in a notice published on the auction house's website.

"I'm happy it's resolved," Goldin said.

Legal papers to dismiss the case were filed in federal courts in New Jersey and California on Monday afternoon.

The online auction begins Monday and runs through July 19.

The items up for sale are: Kobe Bryant's used white Lower Merion High School basketball uniform, number 33; his used maroon high school basketball uniform, number 33; his 1996 Magic's Roundball Classic All-Star medallion and ribbon; his 2000 NBA All-Star Game ring; and two 14-karat gold NBA championship rings, one with 28 diamonds, the other with 24, given as gifts by Bryant to his parents.

Why would parents auction off those kinds of gifts from their son?

"I can't answer that," Goldin said. "I hear you, but I can't comment."

Half of the proceeds from the uniforms, the Magic medallion and ribbon, and the 2000 NBA All-Star ring will go to a charity that Goldin will announce later.

While Goldin declined to comment on the specifics of the case, he did say the charity could expect a "six-figure check."

Goldin said he had worked with dozens of athletes over the years and "the last thing I want do is have the athlete whose items are being auctioned not be 100 percent behind the auction."

The online auction includes other Bryant items, such as a 2006-07 game-worn Lakers jersey obtained through other sources. Items from Babe Ruth, Mike Tyson, Jackie Robinson, and Derek Jeter also will be auctioned. The preview opens Friday.

Earlier estimates had put the value of the original Bryant group of memorabilia at about $1 million. Goldin declined to estimate what the shorter list would command.

But he did point out that a recent auction of two championship rings belonging to 76ers great Julius Erving brought in $250,000 and $400,000.

"Bryant has significantly more worldwide fans than Dr. J," Goldin said, apologetically.

In April, Goldin announced a June 1 auction including Bryant memorabilia consigned to the auction house by his mother.

Kobe Bryant mailed a cease-and-desist letter to stop the sale. Goldin responded May 2 with a federal lawsuit in Camden, seeking to move ahead with the sale. Bryant countered immediately with a lawsuit in federal court in California.

Goldin had two concerns. He had to be able to recoup the $450,000 advance he had already paid to Bryant's mother, which she used to buy a house in Nevada.

And, from a marketing standpoint, the Bryant items were among the headliners designed to attract buyers to the more than 1,000 memorabilia items in the auction.

The settlement allows him to retain some of that marketing edge and the litigation brought an unexpected bonus. "We actually did get an abnormal number of hits on our website and higher than the normal registration rate for the auction," Goldin said.

The papers in the case were a soap opera script written in legalese. Bryant's parents said Bryant had given them the memorabilia after they asked him, numerous times, if he wanted to remove his sports trophies from their home.

Bryant said that his mother was lying and that he wanted to give the memorabilia to his children. Bryant's wife, Vanessa, weighed in, saying that somehow memorabilia stored in their home in California had disappeared without their consent.

Goldin said he had never experienced anything like the Bryant situation. "I was caught completely off-guard," he said.

Bryant's parents also apologized to Goldin Auctions "for their inadvertent involvement in this matter."

"The world is a strange place," Goldin said. "It was certainly not what I expected when I signed the consignment agreement."


Contact Jane M. Von Bergen at jvonbergen@phillynews.com, @JaneVonBergen on Twitter, or at 215-854-2769. Read her workplace blog at www.philly.com/jobbing.

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|