Want to buy ball used in first Olympic hoops gold medal game?
MAY 07, 2014 6:51a ET
The 1936 Olympic basketball gold-medal game ball is set to be auctioned off, as reported by The Kansas City Star.
The ball was used in a game between the U.S. and Canada in Nazi-run Berlin, in which the U.S. took the gold with a 19-8 win. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was in attendance and awarded the medals. The ball is undersized, deflated and looks more like a volleyball than a basketball.
Canadian captain Jimmy Stewart managed to take home the ball after the 1936 game, which was played outdoors in a downpour that turned the clay and sand court to mud. His wife sneaked it out under a blanket she was using, and it’s been in Canada with his family ever since.
"Dad was smart enough to pick up a souvenir," Stewart's son, Jimmy Jr., told The Star.
According to The Star, Stewart Jr. wants to keep the ball in Canada, but over time (he is 75), he decided a new home would be best for the ball.
"I wanted to pass it down in my family but there was no interest in it, so I decided to sell it," Stewart Jr. told The Star.
Stewart Jr. tried to sell the ball once before but ran into promotional issues and failed. Now, he has teamed up with promoter Keith Zimmerman of Overland Park, Kan., and hopes to have better luck.
The ball will be part of a sports memorabilia auction in Baltimore on July 11. The bidding will start at $50,000, and Zimmerman told The Star he believes the ball could fetch anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000.
The ball reportedly has never been in the U.S. despite the fact that the U.S. team won the gold.
If the ball fails to sell, Stewart already has arrangements to give it to the Windsor Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in Windsor, Ontario, where his father was inducted in 1989.
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