It might be the more significant basketball jerseys of all-time. Julius Erving’s 1976 All Star shirt now has a new owner after some serious bidding in a sports memorabilia auction.
It would be the final ABA All Star Game and slam dunk contest ever held.
The American Basketball Association was about to cease operation, sending four of its more stable franchises to the NBA after years of trying to compete against the more established league.
The flamboyant ABA had the red, white and blue ball, zany promotions and the most electrifying star in all of pro hoops.
Julius Erving was the league’s top attraction thanks to his high flying dunks and prolific scoring. His slam in the 1976 All Star Game served notice that he was no second-rate star in a second-rate league. Erving was a superstar and so were the other players who competed in the contest–guys like David Thompson (who’s degree of difficulty might have surpassed Dr. J’s that night), George Gervin and Artis Gilmore. Difficult as it may be to believe these days, the dunk contest was held at halftime of the All Star game.
When he returned to the New York Nets after the break, Erving made good on a promise to give the All Star uniform to a Nets’ ballboy, who kept it until consigning the now valuable souvenir to Grey Flannel Auctions. The uniform turned into the star of the company’s May auction, selling early Thursday morning for an astounding $188,321.
The blue Nets jersey and trunks were accompanied by a signed All Star program Erving brought back for the young ballboy as a thoughtful gesture 32 years ago.
Two other jerseys surpassed the $50,000 mark in the auction. A late 1960s Oscar Robertson autographed Cincinnati Royals jersey sold for $66,734 while a jersey from Michael Jordan’s 1984-85 rookie season brought $55,152. A photo-matched 1973-74 Pete Maravich Atlanta Hawks home jersey sold for $36,716.
Baseball items included a 1960 Ted Williams jersey ($36,720) and a bat used by Derek Jeter to hit his 82nd career home run in May of 2001. Accompanied by a signed letter of authenticity from Jeter himself, the bat sold for an amazing price of $20,208.
The top-selling football item was a 1970 game used Len Dawson Kansas City Chiefs helmet, signed by the Hall of Fame quarterback ($36,716).
For complete auction results, click here.