The Stuff Kids (Like Kobe) Leave Behind

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(Susan Sterner/AP)
Kobe Bryant has settled his lawsuit against his parents, who planning to auction memorabilia from his early playing days. (Susan Sterner/AP)

"The rich are different from you and me." F. Scott Fitzgerald is alleged to have said that, or something like it, and Ernest Hemingway is alleged to have replied, "Yeah, they have more money."

Hemingway might just as well have said they also have more stuff, and their stuff is worth more.

Whereas lots of people have or had many shoe boxes full of baseball cards and perhaps the odd, autographed scorecard, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers had uniform jerseys from his high school teams and a trove of other treasures that his mother and father attempted to sell to an auction house. To seal the deal, said auction house came up with a $450,000 initial payment, which is a lot more than my lost baseball card collection would have brought, even if there'd been a Mickey Mantle rookie card or three in the mix.

Last spring, Bryant sued his parents to prevent the sale of the stuff he'd left behind. He indicated that mom's contention that he'd said she could take the shirts and stuff to Goodwill if she wanted to clean out his closet represented a misunderstanding of his true intention, which was that she should leave his stuff alone, a contention no teenaged boy or girl will have any trouble understanding and applauding.

This week the story got a happy ending, apparently for all concerned.

Kobe's mom and dad agreed to leave most of his stuff alone, as long as he agreed to clean up his room.

Nah, I made that part up. Nothing that childish happened.

Kobe agreed to let mom and dad unload a couple of his high school jerseys and two rings celebrating the 2000 Lakers championship. This arrangement gets mom and dad off the hook with the folks who'd given them $450,000, which is good, because some people to whom one owes that kind of money tend to call at all hours wondering about such things as whether your home insurance is paid up.

According to an ESPN report, Kobe's mother only tried to sell his old shirts and jewelry because he had neglected to purchase the house she wanted, which would no doubt have had a bigger closet for all the stuff that was spilling out of the closet in the old house, so who can blame her?

The resolution of this family spat leaves open only one question, which is why anybody would spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to own Kobe Bryant's high school basketball jerseys and second-hand jewelry. I suppose the answer is "the rich are different from you and me."

This program aired on June 12, 2013.

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Bill Littlefield Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.



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