What kind of home makeover prompts someone to buy four harshly used panels of wood flooring for $631,000?
Perhaps it makes more sense if you knew it was a piece of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Staples Center hardwood court … on which Kobe Bryant played his last game … and on which he signed a bold, black “Kobe” signature inside a block No. 8, his original Lakers jersey number.
That was enough for one buyer to dish out $631,000 for the four pieces of 4-by-8-foot wood, a jagged outline roughly covering an 8-by-16-foot area with a hint of gold-and-purple baseline.
The Heritage Auctions bidding was not for the light-pocketed. The starting bid was $210,000, but the beauty of the escalating cost was that 10% ($63,100) was earmarked for the Bryants’ Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Bryant played his final game on April 13, 2016, dragging an aching body and a 16-65 Lakers team into the season finale. At 37 years old, he scored 60 points and made a game-winning shot for a Hollywood ending to his 20-year Lakers career.
When his daughters did not believe that such games had been the norm, he told them, “YouTube it.”
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, passed away with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles. They were headed to Gianna’s basketball game.
After his final game, Bryant signed two parts of the floor. The other was inside his No. 24, the number he wore for his last NBA decade. He wrote “Laker for life! Kobe 24.” That piece is installed at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.
So to see an autographed piece of the court where Bryant last played, either become a Los Angeles Laker or befriend a certain millionaire.