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
“It’s gotta be the shoes!” In those immortal words spoken by Spike Lee’s fictional character Mars Blackmon in countless Nike commercials during the mid-‘80s, these are the shoes! An extremely rare pair of autographed and game-used Nike Air shoes worn by arguably the NBA’s greatest player ever have surfaced from Michael Jordan’s 1984-85 rookie campaign with the Chicago Bulls. This pair was worn by “His Airness” in an away game versus the Los Angeles Lakers at The Fabulous Forum on Dec. 2, 1984, just prior to the official unveiling of Jordan’s first line of Nike Air Jordans. The shoes that Jordan wore in the Bulls’ 113-112 victory in which he scored 20 points will now be featured in SCP Auctions’ 2015 Spring Premier starting April 8 at www.scpauctions.com. The signed shoes are expected to fetch $50,000 or more.
The pair has been in the possession of the former Lakers ball boy for the past three decades. They’ve been taking up space in his closet, as well as his mom’s closet for the past 30 years, and he finally decided it was time to put them up for auction. His name is Khalid Ali and believe it or not, as a 15-year-old ball boy he had the tenacity to walk up to Michael Jordan during the Bulls’ pregame warm-ups and literally ask him for the shoes.
The back-story is that he originally asked Jordan for a pair of tri-color (red, black and white) Nike shoes that Michael was simply breaking in during warm-ups. “They were an intriguing blend of multi-colored Nike shoes,” recalled Ali. “I had never seen a pair of Nike shoes with three colors before.”
After shoot-arounds, however, Jordan went back to the locker room and came out for the game wearing a completely different pair of white Nike Air shoes with the red swoosh. Those are the shoes he gave to Ali in the Bulls’ locker room following the game. According to Ali, Jordan even grabbed a pen out of his duffle bag and signed them both. These are considered the first ever pre-Air Jordan gamers to hit the hobby. He only wore this style of shoe during the early portion of his rookie campaign before switching full time to Air Jordans later in the season.
Online bidding, open to registered bidders, will run for two-and-a-half weeks and conclude on Saturday, April 25. The online bidding for the MJ gamers promises to be fierce. -Terry Melia