BY DUNCAN MACKAY
Kobe Bryant’s shock death in a helicopter crash has led to a massive spike in prices for memorabilia connected to him.
Bryant apparel on Nike’s website was completely sold out within a day of the tragic accident in California on Sunday (January 26), killing eight other people, including his daughter Gianna.
Bryant-related memorabilia such as trading cards, autographed basketballs, jerseys and shoes is also selling fast on auction site eBay, with sellers hiking up prices to take advantage of the increased demand.
One eBay user wanted $3 million (£2.3 million/€2.8 million) for a basketball signed by Bryant and the rest of the Los Angeles Lakers team from 2002 which won its third consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals, CNN reported.
Another seller was asking for $2.88 million (£2.21 million/€2.66 million) for “one-of-a-kind” ball Bryant signed after winning his first NBA title in 2000.
The seller claimed the ball will be “worth $10 million (£7.7 million/€9.3 million) in 10 years”.
A set of Bryant trading cards, claimed to be in “very good” condition, sold for $1 million (£768,000/€923,000).
The asking price for a pair of Nike shoes signed by the double Olympic gold medallist after his final NBA game in 2016 was $240,000 (£185,000/€222,000).
Howard University marketing professor Denver D’Rozario, who specialises in research about the use of dead celebrities in marketing, claimed he was not surprised by the surge of interest in Bryant-related memorabilia.
“Fans suddenly realise the person they love is not there anymore and they want to buy up things to be close to that person,” D’Rozario, told CNN Business.
“Some people buy it for commemoration purposes because they assume it will increase in value as a collector’s item.
“It gives them a connection to the person they love.”