A week-long auction of memorabilia from 11-time NBA champion Bill Russell’s collection culminated Friday at a live event at TD Garden in Boston.
Two-time Basketball Hall of Famer Naismith Memorial put up 429 lots for bidding in total, including two of his NBA championship rings, the first and last, and the Celtics jersey he wore to his last game. of the NBA.
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“There is no question that this is one of the most important athlete collections ever auctioned,” said David Hunt, president of Hunt Auctions, who has also worked on collections for Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Roberto Clemente.
“We have been very fortunate to work with some of the sports icons. There is no question that Bill is in that group,” Hunt added.
How much did the Bill Russell memorabilia auction cost?
Overall, according to The Associated Press, the top 18 items in the auction sold for more than $ 5.3 million.
The best-selling item was the jersey Russell wore in his last NBA game, the deciding factor of the 1969 Finals that earned him and the Celtics their 11th championship in a span of 13 years.
The 87-year-old NBA legend has pledged part of the auction proceeds to MENTOR, which connects young people with advisers who can provide opportunities they might otherwise miss, and to the Boston Celtics United for Social Justice, which fights racial injustice. and social inequities in the greater Boston area.
|Final NBA jersey
|More than $ 1.1 million
|NBA 1st ring
|1956 Olympic gold medal
|5 NBA MVP trophies
|More than $ 1.3 million combined
Earlier in the week, young NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley expressed interest in bidding on items, considering what was on sale.
“I’d like to get some of those things off their hands,” O’Neal said Tuesday on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” “In order to have all 11 of those rings, no one can beat me on that offer.”
“What he’s done for civil rights in this country is unmatched,” Barkley said on the broadcast. “He and (Muhammad) Ali will always be my heroes when it comes to that. It’s easy to be a social justice guy now when you have $ 100 million, you’re making $ 30-40 million a year, but those guys did it all. Old time heavy lifting. I think I could look at that auction and bid on something. “
One of the items related to Russell’s civil rights activity was a page from his scrapbook. It included a letter signed by the late Jackie Robinson and sold for $ 94,000 at auction.