What you see: A limited edition monumental bronze statue of Rocky Balboa, commissioned from sculptor A. Thomas Schomberg for the 1982 film Rocky III. SCP Auctions estimates it at $500,000-plus.
The Rocky statue is one of Philadelphia’s most iconic sights. People line up everyday, often fresh off a run up the Philadelphia Art Museum steps to pose with the bronze behemoth. A second Rocky statue, made by A. Thomas Schomberg at the same time as the original, is about to be sold by SCP Auctions as part of their 2017 Fall Premier Auction.
One earned multiple championships. The other made multiple movies. Both earned a lot of money. Fifteen years ago, Shaq and fellow Los Angeles resident Sylvester Stallone were pals who made a memorabilia trade. Now, Shaq’s glitzy gift to Sly is going on the auction block.
It’s not unusual for sports celebrities to cross paths with movie stars. But what is unusual is for a movie star to get something as unusual and meaningful as this offering, which will be available in SCP Auctions’ upcoming 2017 Fall Premier auction (Oct. 4 to 21). Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, himself the star of films including “Blue Chips” (1994) and “Kazaam” (1996), started a friendship with movie legend Sylvester Stallone around the new millennium. Stallone, who made his mark on Hollywood through the blockbuster “Rocky” franchise, appreciated the friendship and posed a proposition to his larger-than-life buddy:
“I knew Shaq pretty well and I said, ‘Lets’ do a little trade. I’ll give you something from ‘Rocky’ and you give me something from your world.’ And he said, ‘OK.’ So I get this box that says ‘Sylvester Stallone’ [on it] and this gigantic ring comes out. This is his championship ring; it’s extraordinary! I’ve looked at it for many, many years and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t this be extraordinary for someone else to have who’s a real, real basketball fan?’ Thank you, Shaq!”
Visually stunning, the prized ring from the Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant dynasty of the Los Angeles Lakers was presented by the 7’ 1” former center to Stallone to commemorate the franchise’s 14th NBA Championship (2002). It mirrors the design of the original one worn by O’Neal himself. The triangle theme on the ring face makes note of the team’s back-to-back-to-back trip to basketball’s mountain top, with the magnificent amethyst stone in the center bordered by the word “Back” on three sides. A total of 14 brilliant cut diamonds adorn the bezel, where raised lettering reads “Lakers World Champions.” Sixty-one yellow diamonds are set in the ring face, as are three larger triangular cut diamonds that represent each of the three league championships. “O’Neal” stands in raised lettering upon the left shank, and below that the design makes note of the team’s regular season record (58-24) as well as its playoffs mark (15-4). Right shank features the team’s logo, the year “2002,” and a tribute to the team’s mainstay broadcaster Chick Hearn (“Slam Dunk”) whose last game at the mike was the Lakers’ 2002 NBA Championship clinching 113-107 Game 4 victory over the New Jersey Nets on June 12. The ring’s interior band is engraved “SLY STALLONE” and stamped “14K.” It measures to size 13 (Shaq wears a size 17). The ring is housed inside a beautiful, hinged cherry wood presentation case with an engraved gold plaque on the lid attributing it to Stallone: “2002 WORLD CHAMPIONS LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Sylvester Stallone.” The ring, which comes from Stallone’s personal collection, reflects moderate use.
Still no word on what Stallone presented to Shaq in return. –Terry Melia