Imagine being so iconic, so renowned, such a household name that a sweaty towel of yours can be auctioned off for tens of thousands of dollars.
Late NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was and still is that icon.
According to the Washington Post, the “Mamba out” towel that Bryant had draped over his shoulders as he said his farewells to fans from the Staples Center floor in Los Angeles after his final NBA game was auctioned off for more than $33,000 on Sunday along with two tickets from the game which aired on April 13, 2016.
There were 16 bids on the items, part of Iconic Auctions’ March collection, and the winner was David Kohler, the founder of SCP Auctions and an avid Los Angeles Lakers collector. “He is a devoted Lakers fan,” Iconic Auctions President Jeff Woolf told CNN. “His long-term plan is to create a museum in Southern California.”
The towel, which bears the logo of the “Body Armor” sports drink, a brand endorsed by Bryant, was grabbed off of his back as he exited the stadium after his last game where he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz, securing a 101-96 victory. It was first sold in an auction shortly after Bryant’s retirement, fetching $8,365, according to CNN. But the 18-time NBA All-Star’s memorabilia has seen a significant increase in value since his tragic death on Jan. 26. The $33,077.16 winning bid is almost four times as much as what the towel was originally auctioned off for.
This wasn’t the first time Kohler dropped this kind of money on Kobe memorabilia. Earlier this month, he paid close to $3,000 for a middle school yearbook signed by the 5-time NBA champ.
The signature read, “In a few years you probably will be dunking on me—Not!! How about those Lakers. Your friend, Kobe Bryant.”
It’s been just over two months since a helicopter crash caused Bryan’s untimely death along with eight other passengers including his daughter Gianna, and many fans are still feeling the pain of his loss.
Perhaps one of the best moments to remember him by is when he said goodbye to the game he loved on the stadium floor that night with his teammates and former teammates behind him.
“I can’t believe how fast 20 years came by. This is crazy, this is absolutely crazy—to be standing here inside the court with you, guys, my teammates behind. I appreciate all these, you know, the journey that we’ve been on. We’ve been through our ups, we’ve been through our downs and I think the most important part is we stayed together throughout,” Bryant said.
Kobe ended his speech saying “Mamba out” followed by a kiss on his fingers as he threw up a peace sign and a literal mic drop.
Rest well, Black Mamba.