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NBA All-Star Walter Davis to auction 1976 USA Basketball gold medal

By Ben Golliver | Blogger
Walter Davis' gold medal is headed for auction. (GreyFlannelAuctions.com)

LeBron James had to dominate the world to get his gold medal. You just need to have a good credit limit.

Less than a month after USA Basketball brought home gold from the 2012 London Olympics, a 6-time NBA All-Star is shipping his out.

Walter Davis, a member of the USA Basketball team that won gold at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is auctioning off his gold medal as part of an annual "Hall of Fame" basketball-themed collection on GreyFlannelAuctions.com. Other items in the collection include game-worn jerseys and shoes from the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Julius Erving.

Bidding for the gold medal opened at $10,000. As of Wednesday, the top bid had reached $12,000. Bidding will continue until September 7.

GreyFlannelAuctions.com, which calls the medal "an extremely rare treasure," provides the following specifics on what your 5-figure bid gets you.

This 1976 Olympic gold medal weighs 5.45 oz. with a 60 mm. diameter and a thickness of .50 cm. The gold-plated medal contains at least six grams of pure gold. It was presented to Walter Davis as a member of the 1976 USA Men's Basketball team after they defeated Yugoslavia in the gold medal game on July 25, 1976.

The face of the medal features a design by Florentine artist Giuseppe Cassioli. Created for the 1928 Olympic Games in Amsterdam, the design was used on all Summer Olympic medals until 2004. It reads, “XXIe Olympiade Montréal 1976”.

The verso shows the 1976 Olympic logo and the victor's laurel wreath (symbol of the ancient Games), rendered in the bold, uncluttered style of the Montreal Games. The bottom edge of the medal is engraved “Basketball”.

The medal includes a letter of authenticity, signed by Davis on July 26, 2012, which reads, in part: "This is the Gold medal that I was awarded after our US team defeated Yugoslavia to win the Gold."

Other Davis items in the auction include a basketball commemorating a 1983 game in which he scored 34 straight points and a trophy honoring his 15,000th point in the NBA.

Davis, 57, attended the University of North Carolina and was coached on the 1976 Olympic team by Tar Heels legend, Dean Smith. Nicknamed the "Greyhound," Davis was the 1978 NBA Rookie of the Year and the Phoenix Suns' All-Time leading scorer in franchise history. His No. 6 jersey was retired by the Suns in 1994.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Davis found himself in the middle of a "drug scandal" and that he was "suspended without pay" by the team in 1987, before entering rehabilitation. He later continued his playing career with the Denver Nuggets and, briefly, the Portland Trail Blazers, until 1992. Over his 15-year NBA career, Davis posted averages of 18.9 points, 3.8 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Nuggets.com reported in August 2011 that Davis was serving as a community ambassador for the Nuggets while also running a cigar store in Colorado.

Hat tip: @AdamReisinger

 
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