Michael Jordan's mom disputes authenticity of UNC letters for auction
JAN 17, 2014 4:11p ET
And so the world turns with one of the planet's biggest sports icons ... and his mom.
On Jan. 10, the New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions announced it would begin taking bids on a pair of authentic Michael Jordan recruiting letters, circa 1980, from North Carolina head coach Dean Smith and assistant Bill Guthridge.
But Jordan's mother, Deloris, says the for-auction letters could only be replicas, since she has all of her son's pre-college memorabilia stored in a personal vault.
Goldin Auctions, in turn, disagrees with Mrs. Jordan's assessment and has asked her to verify that claim -- a request Deloris Jordan quickly rebuffed (above link).
Citing an ESPN report from last week, Goldin Auctions apparently secured the authentic letters that had been mailed to Michael Jordan before the future Tar Heels star began his senior year at Laney High School in Wilimington, N.C.
The recruiting letters -- from Dean Smith (retired in 1997) and Guthridge (who succeeded Smith as Heels head coach) -- were reportedly recovered sometime in 2003, when a storage locker inside "Michael Jordan's 23" restaurant contained pieces from the legend's schoolboy past.
Smith's letter to Jordan opened at a bid of $5,000 on Jan. 10, with Guthridge's letter claiming an initial asking price of $2,500.
It's been well-documented that Jordan was cut from the Laney High varsity squad as a sophomore.
But a year later, after Jordan had undergone a timely growth spurt, his game rose to a new level, dominating state/regional competition and wowing coaches at national summer camps -- including Smith and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who reportedly penned a letter to Jordan around that time, after Jordan rejected Coach K's scholarship offer.
At North Carolina (1981-84), Jordan would capture one national championship (1982) and collect multiple All-American and Player of the Year honors for his sophomore and junior campaigns.
In the spring/summer of 1984, Jordan was the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft, courtesy of the Chicago Bulls, where Jordan won six NBA titles. He also led Team USA to an Olympic gold medal (Los Angeles Games).
Jordan was part of a celebrated 1981 class of high school stars, a group that included Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Charles Barkley (Auburn), Chris Mullin (St. John's), Milt Wagner (Louisville), Ed Pinckney (Villanova), Bill Wennington (St. John's), Eric Turner (Michigan) and Sam Vincent (Michigan State).
To view (and perhaps bid on) Dean Smith's 1980 letter to Jordan (via Goldin Auctions), click here.
To view Bill Guthridge's letter to Jordan, click here.