NBA legends selling their championship rings, other trophies


elvin-hayesHall of Fame power forward Elvin Hayes is selling his 14-carat gold, diamond-topped NBA championship ring that he won as a member of the Washington Bullets during the 1977-78 season, Yahoo reported.

The ring can be purchased for at least $100,000. Nate D. Sanders Auctions in Los Angeles is accepting bids for Hayes’ ’77-’78 championship ring — which the auction house says it “obtained directly from Hayes,” with a certificate of authenticity to match.

The ring features an engraving of Hayes’ signature on the interior and a special “THE FAT LADY SINGS” inscription on one side. There have, however, been a pair of bids for Hayes’ 1990 Hall of Fame ring, which opened at $45,000; no such luck on Hayes’ Hall of Fame plaque, though.

Hayes was a 12-time All-Star, who shined for the San Diego/Houston Rockets and Washington Bullets from the late ’60s through the early ’80s, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1990. In the 1977-78 NBA season, despite blowing a 19-point lead in Game 1 and falling down 3-2 down to the Seattle SuperSonics, the Bullets stormed back to win Games 6 and 7 and earn the franchise’s first (and only) NBA title.

“They can say whatever they want,” Hayes said after Game 7, in which he scored 12 points before fouling out. “But they gotta say one thing: E’s a world champion. He wears the ring.”

Hayes played 1303 NBA games, averaging 21.0 ppg, 12.5 rpg in 38.4 mpg. He by the way, isn’t the only Hall of Fame forward putting memorabilia up for bid in the auction.

bernard-king-sidelinesBernard King waited nearly 20 years after the end of his playing career to earn induction into the Hall of Fame.

Evidently, King, the legendary Brooklyn-born scorer — who made four All-Star Games and four All-NBA teams, led the league in scoring during the 1984-85 season, and ranks 42nd in career points scored in NBA history — cares a lot more about the recognition associated with enshrinement than the hardware that came with it, as he’s sold “his Hall of Fame induction ring and Hall of Fame trophy” for bidding.

According to NY Daily News, the two items were initially set for bidding starting at $40,000 for the ring and $32,500 for the trophy, however King chose to sell the items to the auction house rather than put them up for consignment, where he would have waited 45 days to receive payment.

Reportedly, the ring and trophy were purchased from King directly by the firm for an undisclosed sum.

In his 14 seasons in the NBA, Bernard King averaged 22.5 ppg and 5.8 rpg in 33.7 minutes per game. He reached a personal record in 1984-1985, averaging 32.9 points per game for the NY Knicks. During his career, King played for New Jersey Nets, Utah Jazz, Golden State Warriors, NY Knicks, and Washington Bullets. A 4-time All-Star, King played in 874 NBA games, starting in 547 of them.

It remains unclear why the two legends are auctioning off their treasures — King didn’t respond to the Daily News’ requests for comment, and Hayes has been quiet on the matter since news of his championship ring going up for bid began to circulate earlier this month.

Some athletes, like Metta World Peace, Darko Milicic, great Bill Sharman, auction rings off for charity. Others, like Hall of Famer Julius Erving and former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker, have had to auction off their rings to defray court costs.

And some greats, like Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Elgin Baylor, claim to be more than satisfied by the memories of their exploits and achievements enough to avoid sentimental attachment to the myriad mementos taking up space in their attics and drawing rooms. Here’s hoping Bernard King and Elvin Hayes are more in the latter group than in the second one.

Whatever the circumstances surrounding the submission of these items to auction, it’s always sad when such hallmarks of history head off to the open market rather than, say, the Hall of Fame in which their sellers have been enshrined.

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