French superstar Victor Wembanyama‘s 7-foot-4 frame and fluid play have already earned him accolades, including becoming the first pick of the San Antonio Spurs in this year’s NBA draft. While his transition to the league has been relatively easy, the team has struggled, putting up a woeful 3-14 record thus far.
But Wembanyama has already profited off the hype surrounding him. The famous auction house Sotheby’s, which usually offers rare fine art paintings to the tune of millions of dollars, struck gold in their first attempt at selling game-worn jerseys in the lucrative world of sports memorabilia. This is part of a new deal Sotheby’s has with the NBA.
Wembanyama’s jersey was worn during his NBA debut in a game at home vs. the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 25. Though he scored 15 points and had five rebounds, two steals and one block, the Spurs lost 126-119. He wore the jersey in the second half of the game.
But that jersey? It sold for $762,000 in an auction held earlier this month. It took even Sotheby’s by surprise as their initial estimate was only $80,000 to $100,000.
No word about who the buyer was, but fortunately, the jersey they received had the correct spelling of Wembanyama’s name. In a game vs. the Golden State Warriors in the NBA In-Season Tournament late last week, his name was incorrectly spelled as Wembanyana, with a second “n” where an “m” should be.
The error wasn’t discovered until after the game’s first half. Wembanyama was wearing the correct jersey when he returned. But he didn’t take the mistake lightly.
“I don’t know if someone got fired, but the Spurs did their job checking on my name and acknowledged it,” Wembayama told reporters after the game. “I don’t know, but it is a real shame.”
We know he’s just a rook, despite how much hype he brings with him. LeBron James even called the 19-year-old phenom a “unicorn.” And if anyone knows what top-tier NBA talent looks like from a young age, it’s James.
But we’re also pretty sure that James would tell Wembanyama that while it is important to spell his name right on a jersey, it’s even more important to make sure the team spells his name right on his multimillion-dollar checks.
One of which should be on the way from Sotheby’s pretty soon.
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