President Barack Obama’s game-worn high school basketball jersey is on the auction block.
Obama wore the No. 23 jersey as a senior at Punahou, helping the Buffanblu to the 1979 Hawaii State Championship. Earlier this week, Julien’s Auction House brought the historic garment back to the islands for one last tour before it changes hands. The Julien’s Auction: ICONS & IDOLS TRILOGY: SPORTS is taking place on Dec. 4 in Los Angeles, as well as online at juliensauctions.com.
“The jersey represents anybody that dares to dream because if you can play a team sport. In 1971, when Barack Obama came to this school, he has no friends. His dad gave him a gift of a basketball. That was his way to integrate, become a team player,” Julien’s Auctions Executive Director Martin Nolan said. “That was the making of the character that became the 44th president of the United States of America. This is perfect that I stand alongside such an iconic, historical piece. It’s the jersey, that’s the tangible asset that tells the story, but it’s the history. The making of the man.”
Obama is a lover of basketball. In his recent memoir, Dreams From My Father, he further explains why the game was so vital to his growth as an individual saying, “At least on the basketball court I could find a community of sorts, with an inner life all its own. It was there that I would make my closest white friends, on turf where blackness couldn’t be a disadvantage.” His time at Punahou laid the ground work for the character he displayed during his eight years in the Oval Office.
FROM JULIEN’S AUCTION PRESS RELEASE:
The Rawlings size 40 white mesh pullover features “PUNAHOU” and the number “23” on the front and reverse side with yellow and blue stripes, Punahou’s school colors. The historic game worn jersey and rare piece of American presidential history is estimated to sell at $150,000-$200,000 and is accompanied by a 1979 Punahou school yearbook, which includes photos of Barry Obama playing basketball in the same jersey.