Sneakers Kobe Bryant gifted to LeBron James in high school fetch $156K at auction
A pair of sneakers LeBron James wore in high school after receiving them as a gift from Kobe Bryant have fetched a tidy sum in a recently closed auction.
Heritage Auctions confirmed to Sports Illustrated in an email that the Kobe-gifted sneakers that the then-St. Vincent–St. Mary High School prep star donned in a 2002 game sold for $156,000 over the weekend.
A pair of LeBron’s high school game-worn sneakers that were gifted to him by Kobe sold for $156,000 at auction this weekend https://t.co/C25AJvbXaK— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 2, 2021
The sneakers are a pair of ultra-rare adidas Kobe 2s, which were patriotic-themed kicks created to honor the victims of the 9/11 attacks. James interestingly wore the Kobe-gifted sneakers in a game against Carmelo Anthony’s Oak Hill Academy team and scored 36 points.
After James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list last season to land at No. 3 in league history, the Los Angeles Lakers star recalled the events surrounding the sneakers from nearly 20 years ago.
"He gave me a pair of his shoes which I ended up wearing that following night. I was a 15 and he was a 14 and I wore them anyways." @KingJames talks about his relationship with @kobebryant coming full circle after passing him on the NBA's all-time scoring list. #Lakers pic.twitter.com/n6p4nN5sQk— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 26, 2020
The sneakers predictably generated considerable interest in the auction market, which has been operating at a frenetic pace and generating a mind-blowing amount of money exchanging hands over the past year or so.
Bryant’s death along with daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26, 2020 unsurprisingly hit James especially hard, as the two developed a strong friendship over the years. James paid tribute to the late legend when the Lakers received their championship rings in December.