Current fans may know them for the gold and purple uniforms that have been the staple for more than 40 years now, but in their early years, the Los Angeles Lakers were clad in blue and white. Those original game jerseys are highly sought after by collectors these days and when a Jerry West model hits the auction block, look out. A white West home jersey described as game used and from the early 1960s, bought a hefty price in Grey Flannel Auctions’ event at the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame induction weekend. The jersey, signed by the Hall of Fame guard, sold for $96,000 including the buyer’s premium.
Still, it wasn’t the most expensive piece.
Walter Davis’ 1976 Olympic Gold Medal, one of precious few Olympic golds to ever hit the auction block, sold for $108,000. Davis was part of the team that recaptured gold for Team USA after the controversial loss to the Soviet Union in 1972. The ‘76 US basketball team was coached by Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina, who chose a team heavily laden with players from his own school – Phil Ford, Mitch Kupchak, Tommy LaGarde and Davis.
Vintage pro basketball jerseys, however, are a staple of the auction. Also among the 198 items offered was a complete 1973 NBA All-Star uniform worn by Nate “Tiny” Archibald that sold for $78,000. Archibald was a member of the West squad and scored 17 points in the game held at the old Chicago Stadium. He was named to the NBA’s All-Time team in 1996. According to Grey Flannel, the jersey was sourced originally from a former owner of the Miami Heat.
A 1987 Julius Erving All-Star jersey went for $48,000, while a 1974-75 Bill Walton game-used, autographed Trailblazers top went for $60,000 and a 1967-68 Connie Hawkins Pittsburgh Pipers ABA jersey brought $51,000.
A collection of items from the family of former Minneapolis Lakers’ star Vern Mikkelson drew a lot of attention. Mikkelson’s 1995 Hall of Fame ring sold for $36,000, his 1951 All-Star jersey brought $33,000, a Lakers warm up shirt from the ’50s with the “10,000 Lakes” inscription on the back sold for $30,000 while one of his 1950s Laker game worn jerseys tallied $30,000 as well.
Several historic rings were offered including Robert Parish’s 1983-84 NBA Championship ring. It sold for $48,000.