December 2004 > Sports > Basketball
< previous lot |  next lot >
Lot 2369: Michael Jordan John Wooden Award Trophy
Ask Michael Jordan which hardware in his museum-sized trophy case he values the most, and we would bet the the 1984 John R. Wooden Award would be at or near the top. Coach John Wooden’s ideas of the “total basketball player” inspired the design of the trophy, which features five figures, each depicting one of the five major skills of the “total” basketball player: rebounding, passing, defense, shooting and dribbling. The concept for the trophy originated in 1975 with Wooden Award Chairman Richard “Duke” Llewellyn, then athletic director at The Los Angeles Athletic Club. A committee sorted through hundreds of photographs of UCLA basketball players in action, looking for quality photos that represented the five skills and could be translated into sculpture. The Club hired a photographer and asked two of its members who had been former college basketball players to pose in the positions that the committee needed. The photographs were given to sculptor Don Winton, who had been a competitor in track and field and had sculpted many top sports awards. Using the photographs for authenticity, Winton made clay models, then cast them in hard wax, taking special care with the details of shoes, socks, trunks, shirts, hands and the scale of the basketball. The casts were scrutinized for authenticity by Coach Wooden and after a series of meetings and small changes, they were given to Robert Graves, a mold-maker who made the trophies for the Emmy and Grammy Awards, and who had experience in molding sports figures. Graves reproduced sections of each figure in plaster, then used these to make bronze molds. Each figure is created from approximately 10 sections per mold, and 3 of the figures are created from two molds each, in order to provided the details necessary around the basketball, forearms and hands. The figures were cast, hand-polished, soldered together and electroplated to the base. The figures are made of a zinc alloy atop a brass pentagon base plate, all of which is copper plated, nickel plated, copper plated again, then bronze plated for a polished finish. The tallest figure is captured in a hook shot at 10 ¼ inches and the solid walnut base measures 7 ½ inches, making the total height of the trophy 17 ¾ inches. The trophy weighs more than 25 pounds. The first trophy cost approximately $7,500. The trophy is presented each year to the collegiate basketball Player of the Year and his school. Permanent trophies reside in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and the Amateur Athletic Foundation in Los Angeles, California. A special trophy stands on a marble pedestal in a niche especially designed for it in the Main Lobby of the Los Angeles Athletic Club. The front plate is engraved "Los Angeles Athletic Club" and "John R. wooden Award" along with all the winners, the last one on the trophy being "Michael Jordan, University of North Carolina". Mint and breathtaking.
|The bidding for this lot has ended.|