From winning championships to clutch shots to scoring 81 points in a single game, Kobe Bryant's Hall-of-Fame worthy career was filled with more than several iconic moments. However, one of the more under-the-radar moments from Bryant's career is when he had to wear a mask for 11 games during the 2011-2012 season.
Bryant suffered a nasal fracture during the 2012 All-Star game when he was inadvertently hit on the nose by Dwyane Wade. To protect his broken nose while it healed, Bryant had to wear a mask. But while some players become bothered by wearing a mask, Bryant somehow was not and it hardly affected his game. In the 11 games he wore the mask, Bryant averaged 31.1 points. Now, Bryant did actually complain about the mask, saying that it felt like he had a sauna on his face but despite how uncomfortable sounding that may be, he was able to dominate on the court.
Bryant ended up auctioning one of his masks in 2012, raising over $67,000 for his foundation. Now four years later, another one of Bryant's mask is up for auction and will likely sell for around the same amount. This mask is also quite unique as it is the first one Bryant wore after breaking his nose in the 2012 All-Star game.
From Goldin Auctions:
A letter from a member of the Los Angeles Lakers training staff accompanies this lot that states the following:
"In order to make the mask, a molding of Kobe's face had to be made. Kobe had to sit for several minutes while the mold was applied and hardened. Once the mold was created, the mask was formed.
The mask originally had two straps; one that wrapped around behind his head, and another which wrapped over the top. Kobe did not like the strap over the top of his head so the team had to remove it. This is the reason why you still see a small round metal piece at the forehead of the mask. The small metal piece is where the over-the-head strap was anchored.
One main complaint that Kobe had with the mask was that it kept fogging up. In an attempt to remedy the problem, the team decided to add four small silicone dots at specific pressure areas to help reduce the fogging effect. Unfortunately it was not successful, so we had to remove the dots, some of the adhesive remained stuck to the mask, we had to use a small electric shaver in order to remove the remaining adhesive, and this is why one can see 4 areas of uneven surfaces inside the mask."
Goldin doesn't specify who is selling the mask or even how the seller obtained it. However, the letter from the Lakers training staff (which the winning bidder will also receive) provides authenticity for the auction listing.
It is kind of wild that someone would want to spend tens of thousands of dollars to own an old, sweaty mask but Bryant's fans are an intense bunch and money is no limit for some of them, when it comes to their Kobe fandom.