Kobe Bryant memorabilia continues to fly off the auction block but few, if any, items are as unique and personal as what Iconic Auctions currently has available.
The company’s February 2020 Autographs, Collectibles & Memorabilia auction, which is currently active and closes on Feb. 29, features a junior high yearbook that was signed by Bryant, and included a prophetic statement that foreshadowed his future basketball career as one of the most iconic Los Angeles Lakers.
The yearbook was from 1992 and highlighted life at Bala Cynwyd Middle School in Pennsylvania. Because Bryant joined the school midway through the year, he does not have a traditional class photo included in the book, but his memento was a lot more profound.
Bryant signed the yearbook, which belonged to a friend named Marc, and included the following message.
In a few years you probably will be dunking on me. Not!! How bout those Lakers. Your friend Kobe Bryant #24
The message was scrawled in blue ballpoint pen on the second to last page of the yearbook, which is in good condition and features normal wear and tear from being handled by students of the school.
Just four years later, Bryant would be drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th overall pick directly out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Penn. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, making his yearbook prophecy come to fruition.
Even back in junior high he was signing “#24” with his signature, a number he would hold on to until the Lakers organization just recently retired it to the rafters of the STAPLES Center.
The yearbook has, thus far, been in the possession of an ardent Kobe Bryant fan. His name is James Aaron, and we’ve heard from him. He said that he originally purchased the yearbook 16 years ago from the original owner (Marc).
Aaron said he also once owned 57 pairs of game-worn shoes from Bryant, most of which he sold off over the years. However, he said that Bryant gave his son shoes personally and he plans to hang on to those.
The minimum bid on the yearbook was set at $2,500. After five bids, that number ballooned to $4,431 and is expected to go significantly higher.
Another notable item up for auction is a love poem written by Michael Jordan during his team in either junior high or high school.
“The market for basketball autographs and memorabilia has exploded in the last several years, and the Kobe Bryant middle school yearbook and Michael Jordan handwritten teenage love poem are two of the most unique pieces we’ve ever handled in that genre,” said Iconic Auctions president Jeff Woolf through a press release. “The Kobe yearbook, in particular, is both timely and poignant.”