Kobe Bryant face mask makes $61,100 for LA homeless

A face mask worn by NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant earlier this season has sold for $67,100 at an online charity auction, which ended on May 8.

The Los Angeles Laker was forced to employ the see-through mask for 11 games after suffering a nose fracture in February's All-Star Game courtesy of Dwayne Wade.

Kobe Bryant mask
The unique nature of the mask helped boost its appeal with collectors

Proceeds from the sale will raise money for the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which aims to bring an end to homelessness in Los Angeles.

There are more than 50,000 homeless people in the city, according to a homeless shelter supported by Bryant, My Friend's Place.

Bryant had previously said that the mask was like having "a sauna on my face", adding that he wanted to see if "anybody's dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask".

The value of basketball memorabilia has soared of late, suggesting that the new owner may be savvier than Bryant gives them credit for.

An autographed Julius "Dr J" Erving Virginia Squires ABA game-worn jersey from the 1972-73 season broke the record for a basketball jersey at auction last May when it sold for $190,414.

The most valuable piece of basketball memorabilia ever sold are the original rules written by Canadian sports coach James Naismith in 1891. They sold for $4.3m at Sotheby's in December 2010.

The mask sale sets a new benchmark for Bryant memorabilia. His game worn jerseys have sold for just $7,000 in the past, suggesting that the unique nature of the item helped boost its value.

Bryant and his Lakers are currently embroiled in a fierce battle with the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Check out the stunning range of sports memorabilia currently up for grabs at PFC Auctions' May sale, which runs until May 24.

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