Swoopes during her visit
to the White House with the
Houston Comets, 2001.
It has happened to some of the most famous people in modern history including Malcolm X and Michael Jackson. I remember the shock and heartfelt panic in my chest when news broke in the spring of 2002 that the contents of a random storage locker being auctioned off for unpaid rent contained a large cache of speeches, journals, and notes by Malcolm X.
My alarm stemmed from worrying that those precious artifacts of African American history might be lost without the care and cataloguing that could be provided by a museum or university archive. Two years later, a similar incident happened when a priceless trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia was sold including items from the making of the groundbreaking Thriller album to home movies of The Jackson Five that had never been seen by the public.
Now it seems that some valuable pieces of women’s basketball history may be in jeopardy of being auctioned off willy-nilly because of unpaid storage fees. On Friday, May 22, Martin Jordan, a retired oil field worker, bought items from a storage unit in Lubbock, Texas. Little did he know then of the treasures it contained.
Imagine his surprise when he realized that he was in possession of the personal effects of someone who was not only a subject to Texas lore but who was also an internationally recognized athlete.
“It blows my mind,” said Jordan to the The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. “I’m flabbergasted.”
Jordan plans to sell most of the items on eBay.
The newspaper broke the story on Tuesday and word of the discovery has many women’s basketball fans shaking their heads and questioning how something like this could happen, especially given the millions of dollars in career earnings that Swoopes has made even if she did have to file for bankruptcy a few years ago.
Considered one of the best players in women’s basketball history, Swoopes led the nearby Texas Tech Lady Raiders to the national championship in 1993 and was key in helping the now defunct WNBA Houston Comets earn four national titles.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist knew she had a storage unit in Lubbock according to her agent Kim Blackwell. It was rented during her previous marriage to Eric Jackson. But she did not know that the contents had been sold said Blackwell in a statement to the Avalanche-Journal.
“Of the items mentioned, Ms. Swoopes regrets learning that the contents included letters from fans,” the statement reads. “Ms. Swoopes hopes that the monies, derived from sales on E-Bay (sic), will be put to use in servicing the goodwill and interests of the Lubbock community.”
Jordan, who now makes a living reselling goods at flea markets, plans to sell most of the items online. And I’m sure the