Basketball fans who watched the 1992 U.S. Olympic basketball “Dream Team” exert its unmatched power had also witnessed some stunning news that summer. Jim Valvano, the animated former NCAA championship coach and popular analyst, had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
At some point during their quest for the gold medal, players and coaches wrote their good wishes to “Jimmy V” on a USA Basketball t-shirt that is now on the auction block.
Sixteen players and some of Valvano’s former coaching colleagues signed the shirt that was originally purchased in a charity auction 11 years after Valvano’s death. It’s now been consigned to Goldin Auctions with a current high bid of $22,000.
The shirt, mounted and framed, was presented to Valvano at some point in 1992, with most team members inscribing their well wishes to Valvano, who had been diagnosed with with metastatic adenocarcinoma, a type of glandular cancer, in June, two months prior to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
Signatures and inscriptions written on the shirt include Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird (inscribed “To Jimmy Best Wishes”), Mike Krzyzewski (inscribed “Jimmy, We’re all pulling for you!”), Chuck Daly (inscribed “Best Wishes/God Bless”), Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson (inscribed “Best of Luck”), Chris Mullin (inscribed “To Jimmy V. God Bless.”), Charles Barkley (inscribed “To My Friend Jim”), John Stockton (inscribed “To Coach V.), Lenny Wilkens (inscribed “To Jim God’s Blessing”), Karl Malone (inscribed “To Jim” and “#32”), David Robinson (inscribed “To Jim Best Wishes”, “50” and “COR 2:9”) and Clyde Drexler (inscribed “To Jimmy God Bless” and “#10”), Christian Laettner (inscribed “To Coach V.!! Go NCST”, “4” and “32 Duke”) and assistant coach P.J. Carlesimo.
“The Dream Team was undoubtedly the greatest basketball team ever assembled and to have this shirt signed by every single member of this team, including all four coaches as well as get well message to the great Jim Valvano, makes this truly a one-of-a-kind item,” said Ken Goldin, Founder of Goldin Auctions. “You will not find a better 1992 Dream Team multi-signed piece than this.”
The auction consists of over 300 high-end lots with bidding set to run through August 22.