The words of legendary Philadelphia P.A. announcer Dave Zinkoff echoed off the walls whenever hometown hero Tom Gola scored for the Warriors. A LaSalle legend who became an unselfish star in the NBA, Gola was a folk hero in a city that loved hoops. Now, six years after his death, some of the items from his college and pro career are on the auction block.
Goldin Auctions is offering a collection of 27 different lots of Gola memorabilia in its Holiday Auction, including a pair of game-worn jerseys. His 1954 NCAA championship plaque along with several other awards and his Certificate of Election to the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Gola’s #15 1959 Warriors road jersey and one he donned with the New York Knicks in the 1960s are the two top items.
Gola was a high school standout in Philadelphia who went on to lead LaSalle to the 1952 NIT and 1954 NCAA championships–one of only three players to do so. In the NBA, he teamed with Paul Arizin and Neil Johnston to lead the Warriors to the 1956 NBA championship and was an All-Star each year from 1960-1964. A unique piece the auction is Gola’s copy of a framed print from the ’61 All-Star Game with 15 signatures, including Chamberlain, Jerry West and numerous other Hall of Famers.
Idolized by a young Wilt Chamberlain, Gola eventually played with the legendary center for a couple of years during a career that lasted from 1955-56 to 1965-66.
Gola died in 2014 at age 81. At his eulogy, Brother Joseph Grabenstein described Gola as “a man of strength, tempered with an unassuming personality and blessed with a touch of humility. A man of great accomplishment, but so very approachable.”
The auction is scheduled to close Saturday, December 12.