Obama’s high school basketball jersey sells for Shs444 million

Tuesday August 20 2019

The number 23 jersey belonged to 18-year-old

The number 23 jersey belonged to 18-year-old Obama while he was a senior at Punahou high school in Hawaii 

By AFP and agencies

A basketball jersey once owned by former US president Barack Obama sold Monday for $120,000 (about Shs444 million) according to the Dallas auction house that sold it.

The number 23 jersey belonged to 18-year-old Obama while he was a senior at Punahou high school in Hawaii, where he lived at the time, according to Heritage Auctions.

The jersey was valued at $100,000 before it was sold.

Obama is a known basketball fan and was often seen playing during his tenure at the White House, with presidential staffers, celebrities or other guests.

According to Associated Press, Heritage Auctions said the jersey was sold Saturday night in Dallas to a collector of American and sports artifacts who didn’t wish to be identified.

The jersey was offered by Peter Noble, who was three years behind Obama at Punahou School. Noble, now 55 and living in Seattle, said the jersey was destined for the trash when he picked it up. Years later he saw an old photo of Obama wearing a No. 23 jersey while a guard on the school’s 1979 Hawaii state championship team.

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“I took it because they were getting rid of it,” said Noble. “It meant nothing else, really.”

Noble said he grew up “idolizing” Punahou basketball.

The auction house says details on the shirt match the one Obama, who mostly sat on the bench during his Punahou basketball days, is photographed wearing.

It wasn’t until Obama was elected president that Noble saw the photograph. He thought it was interesting and showed the jersey off to friends out of pride for Punahou. Mostly, the shirt remained in his closet, following him during moves to various cities.

Noble says a portion of the sale will go to the school.

“I got to thinking: Is there an opportunity to do something, perhaps good?” he said. “Perhaps have this see a bigger, broader light of day than sitting in my closet.”

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