This may be a time for mourning for the millions of people who admired Kobe Bryant, but dealers and scam artists see the Los Angeles Lakers’ death as an opportunity to cash in. Shaquille O’Neal’s son Shareef O’Neal even sent out a tweet asking for L.A. to shut down for a day in order to have a parade dedicated to the NBA legend make its way through the city just to show just how important the basketball star’s legacy was to the world. While we wait to see if that will actually happen in the future, there are a select few who are scheming to make big bucks off of Bryant’s tragic death.
Unsurprisingly, people are looking to collect Bryant memorabilia, but if you’re hoping to hold on to a piece of Kobe Bryant’s history, be prepared to dish out some serious cash to reputable dealers. According to a report by TMZ, diehard fans are more than willing to pay anywhere between 2x to 20x the prices listed prior to the basketball star’s death.
“For example, a game-worn and signed Kobe jersey from the 2004-2005 season was expected to hit $6,000 before his death,” TMZ wrote in their report. “But pre-bidders have already bumped the price to a starting $6,500 and the auction still runs for another month!” The outlet added that there is a high-end dealer who had an “extremely rare” basketball card of Bryant’s, and while it was initially expected to sell for approximately $2,500, it went for almost $50K.
Aside from the dramatic increase in the prices for memorabilia, there are scammers who are pushing out forgeries and fakes. Online auctions are especially vulnerable to these types of scams that allegedly sell items that feature fake autographs and signatures. The Washington Post advised shoppers to avoid unfamiliar shopping sites and to not feel pressured into making purchases too quickly. If people are trying to rush you into a transaction, it’s likely a scam. The publication also states to use credit, not debit, and to always check an online site’s security settings.
Watch a few reports below.