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    1971 Nate Thurmond NBA/ABA All-Star Game Worn Jersey, MEARS A8. While any garment worn in competition by a Hall of Famer and NBA 50 Greatest club member is self-evidently one of enormous collectible desirability, this particular example is perhaps even more significant for the sea change it signals in the larger story of professional basketball. After four years of cold war between the entrenched NBA and the upstart ABA, the two leagues shared a single court for the very first time on May 28, 1971 under Houston's Astrodome.

    The ownership consortium of the NBA vehemently opposed any movement toward legitimacy for its younger sibling, but, lacking any authority to halt the proceedings, they were left only to hope that an NBA victory would amplify the narrative they had pushed since the birth of the ABA--that it was an inferior league unworthy of fan dollars. While the NBA did emerge with the win, the highly-competitive contest (125-120) had the opposite effect, opening the first crack in a wall between the leagues that would tumble down in five years' time.

    Presented is the jersey worn by Hall of Fame center Thurmond in that paradigm-shifting battle, an understated red, white and blue gamer matching the ABA basketball that the NBA handled for the very first time in the second half of the game. Number "42"--digits retired by both the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers in his honor--is applied in red tackle twill to front and back, the latter beneath an arched "Thurmond." Interior collar holds a single "Belen Athletic Wear" label, lacking size information. Proper game use is evident, the jersey losing two points only for the gray staining on the front that will look like shadows in our catalog imagery. LOA from MEARS, A8. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2017
    19th Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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