Canadian Company Gobbles up Prime Naismith Pieces

It turns out Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment was the highest of the high rollers at the recent James Naismith auction. The company that owns most of Toronto’s pro sports teams spent well into six figures to bring home artifacts from Canada’s native son.

MLSE purchased 25 top items from the memorabilia collection put up for auction this month by Naismith’s granddaughter, Helen Carpenter.

One of the items purchased was a passport used by Naismith to travel in 1936 to Berlin, where basketball was played for the first time as an Olympic sport, which sold for $20,315.

In a story published Wednesday, The Toronto Star reported that the memorabilia will go on display during 2007 in Air Canada Centre, the home of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. John Lashway, senior vice-president of communications and community development said no specific date has been decided upon. "It’ll be accessible to fans," said Lashway.