Winter 2014 Auction Closing Feb 7
This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 2/8/2014
This momentous February 1980 letter marks the University of North Carolina's first contact with high school phenom Michael Jordan. The letter, dated February 19, 1980, printed on UNC's official blue and white letterhead, was composed by asisstant coach (and eventual Dean Smith successor) Bill Guthridge after having seen Jordan play the evening before against Hoggard High. The letter is written care of Jordan's Laney High coach, Clifton Herring, and tells the junior that he has an outstanding basketball future ahead of him (surely the biggest understatement in the history of college recruiting!).
Guthridge invites Jordan to Chapel Hill's basketball camp that summer and explains "NCAA rules do not allow us to offer you a scholarship to our camp or we certainly would. You have to pay your own way or receive a scholarship from your booster club at Laney High School". Guthridge further states he hopes the high schooler will consider attending UNC and wishes him good luck in his remaining tournament games. Also of historic note, as first contact with Jordan, they provide a questionnaire for Jordan to fill out and return "so that we will have more information on you." Guthridge signed the letter in blue ballpoint (9/10).
A remarkable piece of correspondence and the earliest link between Michael Jordan and the university where he would begin his journey revolutionizing the sport of basketball. The letter was given to Framemakers in 1999 to be professionally framed for display at "Michael Jordan's 23" restaurant in Chapel Hill. As home to the University of North Carolina, such an important letter as this with such a solid link to the location made this document especially appealing. The original 11 3/4" x 12 3/4" metal frame shows wear and scuffs from many years of storage, but the letter and matte have been well-protected by the glass. The official UNC letterhead is in the university's colors of blue and white, and the letter is printed in matching UNC blue ink. As a letter, it has three folds from when it was originally mailed in 1980 to Michael Jordan, c/o his high school coach. Despite the wear on the frame and to preserve the integrity and provenance of the item, it remains in its original form as it was displayed at 'Jordan's 23'. The frame's back has the original "Framemakers" label attached (Framemakers is the acknowledged specialists in framing UNC diplomas for generations of Chapel Hill graduates). Also affixed to the back is an inventory sticker from Excel Moving & Storage, the facility which this letter and other Jordan memorabilia was stored after the restaurant's closing.
This letter and three other documents were obtained from the storage facility after the "23" restaurant closed, with the other three documents being offered as Lot 6, 7 and 9 in this catalog. One of the single most important basketball documents that will ever come to market. Letter of Authenticity from PSA/DNA. Notarized Letter of Authenticity from JSA. For good measure, an LOA from SGC has also been obtained on this important, historic document.
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