Bidding Basketball: How To Be A Superfan In The Atlantic Division

The 2012-13 NBA regular season is right around the corner. For fans, this means it’s time to re-up on your team’s merchandise. Anyone can go to the nearest sporting goods store and pick up a brand new jersey or hat, but what about the unique collectibles that separate the dyed-in-the-wool fan from the bandwagon supporter? These can be found on eBay. In the weeks leading up to NBA tip-off, Bidding Basketball will scavenge the online auction site’s “infinite inventory of NBA junk” for rare, memorable and/or quirky basketball memorabilia from every team around the league.

We begin in the Eastern Conference’s Atlantic Division.

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Buy It Now: $50.00, plus shipping
From 1946 to 1995, the Boston Celtics celebrated sixteen championships in the Boston Garden on Causeway Street. The Garden had many design flaws – the lack air conditioning, ice-cold water, fluky sewage system and crowded stands – which made it a nightmare for opposing teams to play in, but the building was perhaps most notorious for the parquet floor. Indeed, as the Celts long-time President Red Auerbach once said of the zig-zag floor boards, “The parquet floor is synonymous with the Celtics. It is a good floor, a very good floor. The so-called dead spots on the floor? If teams felt it was a poor floor, I used it for an advantage by playing with their minds.” Although the old Garden has long since been demolished (and replaced by TD Garden), memories of the NBA titles won by Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, et al. are preserved in the remaining pieces of the arena’s parquet floor.

Dead Auction: NBA Brooklyn Nets ADIDAS Fitted Hat, NEW, LARGE/XL
Ended: $8.50, plus shipping
The Brooklyn Nets new “all black everything” identity is one of the sharpest in the league, to be sure. However, before Nets revealed the Jay-Z-inspired look this summer, the extent of the team’s colors and kit were this: “BKLYN” written in lower-case navy blue text. The non-descript logo isn’t exactly attractive, but it was emblazed on merchandise, such as this hat, for eager Nets fans to purchase prior to the team’s move to BK. If the Nets pan out as well as some have predicted, the Brooklyn bandwagon might be at capacity by season’s end. Indeed, plenty of new Nets merchandise – $5 million worth since April, to be precise – has been sold already. This hat, then, is a good way for die-hard fans to stand out in the sea of black jerseys that is sure to fill Barclays Center for years to come.

Live Auction: New York Knicks John Starks autographed hardcover book
Buy It Now: $31.45, plus shipping
John Starks personifies New York basketball. His scrappy play, relentlessness and, yes, even temper as a member of the New York Knicks resonated with New Yorkers in ways that few other Knickerbockers ever have. To this day, his baseline dunk over Horace Grant and Michael Jordan in the 1993 NBA Playoffs (aka “The Dunk”) remains one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. But what about John Starks, the author? Starks released an autobiography entitled My Life in 2004 that chronicles his eventual rise from the streets of Tulsa to Oklahoma State University to Madison Square Garden. For those unfamiliar with John’s fascinating life story, it’s a chance to learn, in his own words, how exactly he became the basketball player he was. Given Starks’ place in New York basketball history, My Life is an essential text for any Knicks fan’s library.

Dead Auction: Moses Malone 1993-1994 Game Worn Philadelphia Sixers Home White “Last” Jersey
Ended: $4,402.02, plus shipping
Moses Malone is remembered as one of the game’s greatest centers, most efficient rebounders, and as the first basketball player to make the jump from high school straight to the pros. Arguably Malone’s best season came in 1982-83 with the Philadelphia 76ers, in which he averaged 24.5 points, 15.3 rebounds and two blocks, won his first (and only) NBA championship, and was named NBA MVP and NBA Finals MVP. Ten years later, in the twilight of his Hall of Fame career, Moses returned to Philly for one last run. The above auction is for an autographed home uniform (the short-lived “Shower with the Stars” kit) worn by Malone in his last game a Sixer. And it’s stunning. Although the $4,000 tag might seem a little steep for a jersey, a rare item worn by one of basketball’s best is priceless.

Live Auction: Various Artists – Toronto Raptors: Greatest Hits Vol. 1 CD 2000 USA 20trk
Buy It Now: $12.99, plus shipping
By virtue of my proximity to Toronto, I’ve seen and bought plenty of strange Toronto Raptors merchandise over the years: a Morris Peterson jersey, a Zan Tabak trading card, a life-sized poster of Vince Carter, and a Raptor plush doll just to name a few. Frankly, I’m sort of surprised I don’t already own the “Toronto Raptors: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1” compilation CD. The CD was released in 2000, at the height of Vince Carter’s popularity in the city, and features arena dance tracks interspersed with audio clips of classic Raptors moments. Toronto sports has been a pretty depressing experience for the past few years (the current NHL lockout hasn’t helped), so listening to highlights of the Raps beating the ’96 Chicago Bulls followed by the song “Tuff Enuff” by The Fabulous Thunderbirds might be a good way to improve the spirits of Toronto fans. Just hope I don’t bid on it first.

What’s the most rare NBA thing you’ve ever bought on eBay?

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