Barack Obama’s 1978-79 Punahou High School basketball jersey was up for auction at Heritage Auctions with an estimate of US$100,000. With a starting bid of US$25,000, the jersey fetched US$120,000 when the sale ended on 17 August.
Obama is a well-known basketball fan
The white jersey has the blue letters ‘Punahou’ on the front and the number ‘23’, the same number as Michael Jordan and LeBron James.
Obama is a well-known basketball fan. During his time as the President of the United States, he converted the White House’s tennis court so that it could be used for both tennis and basketball.
“I’ve always loved basketball because it’s about building a team that’s equal to more than the sum of its parts. Glad to see this expansion into Africa because for a rising continent, this can be about a lot more than what happens on the court,” Obama tweeted.
According to the auction house, the jersey was worn by Obama during his senior year at Punahou school when he was a member of the 1979 boys’ varsity basketball state championship team.
The seller of the jersey is Peter Noble, who is three years younger than Obama and wore the 23 jersey while on the junior varsity team. The jersey was sold together with a 1979 yearbook featuring photographs of Obama on the court and a letter of authenticity from Noble.