Ball Used In First Olympic Gold-Medal Basketball Game Up For Auction

First gold-medal basketballThe 1936 Olympic basketball gold-medal game ball is set to be auctioned off, as reported by the Kansas City Star.

The ball was used in a match between the U.S. and Canada in Nazi-run Berlin, in which the U.S. took the gold with a score of 19-8. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, was in attendance. The ball is undersized, deflated and looks more like a volleyball than a basketball.

Canadian player Jimmy Stewart managed to take home the ball after the 1936 game, which was played outdoors in a downpour that turned the clay and sand court to mud. His wife sneaked it out under a blanket she was using, and it’s been in Canada with his family ever since.

Stewart’s son, Jimmy Stewart Jr., tried to sell the ball once before but ran into promotional issues and failed. Now, he has teamed up with promoter Keith Zimmerman of Overland Park, Kan. and hopes to have better luck.

The ball will be part of a sports memorabilia auction in Baltimore on July 11. The bidding will start at $50,000, and Zimmerman believes it could fetch anywhere from $250,000 to $500,000.

The ball has never been in the U.S. despite the fact that the U.S. team won the gold. Stewart wanted to keep it in Canada because that silver medal is their only Olympic basketball medal. In fact, if the ball fails to sell, Stewart already has arrangements to give it to the Windsor Essex County Sports Hall of Fame in Windsor, Ontario, where his father was inducted in 1989.

Photo via Twitter/@nzaccardi