He admits to drinking his own sweat under the mask and then quips “see if anybody’s dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask”. However, the world and his wife are too smitten by celebrity memorabilia to pay $67, 100 for what the wearer himself considers as “sweaty”. The mask, donned by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, for eleven games across February and March has been auctioned off on 8th of May.
The mask landed on Kobe’s face after he suffered a hit-to-face foul by Miami’s Dwyane Wade. The piece of plastic, however, has proved to be enormously lucky as Kobe’s points totaled at 342, wearing it. That the ace Basket ball player was never comfortable around in a mask is a different story though. The mask “felt like a sauna on my face” says Kobe. So off he went, trying out different models of the mask over time. He swapped the initial mask for a smaller one, which, to Kobe’s utter dismay, fell short of expectations. The piece, sourced to prevent damages while Kobe nursed a healing nose has gone down the pages of history on more counts than the ones mentioned above. Masked, Kobe reached his 29000th career point in a match against the Timberwolves.
The proceeds of the online sale will go to a family foundation run by Kobe and his wife, Vanessa for homeless youths. Apart from the mask, which has already been booked, other Kobe items up for grabs include a signed shoe, and autographed Jerseys. Coming back to the Kobe mask, Marc Fleckner is the man whose creation Kobe wore for 11 matches. For those who did not know, Fleckner is also responsible for a majority of the Lakers orthotics. Sweaty he may call it, yet Fleckner’s innovation was treasured by Kobe despite being supplied with three different alternatives.
News of the Kobe mask going under the hammer might have delighted Lakers fans, basketball enthusiasts and sports buffs, to some people at least, the whole episode may sounds downright bizarre. However, in a world where Marylyn Monroe’s Chest X-ray, John Lenonn’s tooth or Elvis Presley’s hair can sell for several thousands, the Kobe mask was quiet normal in having the gale banged on.