Pauley Pavillion Center Circle, Unitas Game-Used Helmet Offered by SCP

The original (1965-82) UCLA Pauley Pavilion center court section (jump circle), will be part of an auction presented by SCP Auctions. Bidding will be open to registered bidders on www.scpauctions.com on April 15 and conclude on April 30.

Measuring 12 feet in diameter, this original round section of the Pauley Pavilion court was ground zero for one of the greatest dynasties in all of sports for 17 seasons. Home to UCLA athletic teams since 1965, the original court was the home of eight NCAA men’s national championship teams and the Bruins’ first women’s NCAA national championship team in 1978. Since its replacement in 1982, the original Pauley Pavilion jump circle has been carefully preserved in storage. In 1998, it was displayed as the centerpiece for an event held in Pauley Pavilion, attended by the legendary coach John Wooden and dozens of former UCLA greats, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Sidney Wicks and Walt Hazzard. Wooden and each of the players in attendance signed the original jump circle, knowing it would later be sold at auction by a UCLA alum who chooses to remain anonymous. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale will be dedicated to funding medical research.

The original jump circle offered by SCP Auctions remained in Pauley from its opening in 1965 until its replacement in May 1982. During those 17 seasons, the most memorable events in UCLA basketball history, and some of the greatest records in NCAA sports were set. These include:

• Eight of ten of UCLA’s NCAA championship seasons under Coach John Wooden including seven consecutive (1966-73)
• A combined record of 148-2 under Wooden
• A stretch of 98 consecutives home victories for UCLA men’s basketball
• Wooden’s last coaching appearance at home on March 1, 1975
• UCLA’s first women’s national basketball championship in 1978

Unitas Helmet
Few, if any, sports stories are more dramatic or more complete than the story of Johnny Unitas. A ninth-round draft choice of the 1955 Pittsburgh Steelers, Unitas was cut before he even threw one pass in a game. Still determined, he played semi-pro football for $6 a game. After the season, the Baltimore Colts coach Weeb Ewbank learned of the "outstanding prospect" on the Pittsburgh sandlots. Ewbank signed Johnny for $17,000 on a make-the-team basis. Programmed strictly as a backup, Unitas got his chance in the fourth game when the Colts’ starter was injured. Unitas’ first pass was intercepted for a touchdown but from that moment on, he never looked back. For the next 18 seasons, "Johnny U” ran up a ledger of game winning exploits seldom matched in NFL history. Without a doubt, it was his last-second heroics in the 1958 NFL title game, often called "the greatest game ever played," that turned Unitas into a household name. Possessing an unparalleled combination of confidence, courage, leadership, play calling genius, and passing skill, Unitas’ career statistics include 40,239 yards and 290 touchdown passes. His record of at least one touchdown pass in 47 consecutive games may stand forever. A genuine team player, Unitas was a first- or second-team All-NFL choice eight years, selected NFL Player of the Year three times, and named to10 Pro Bowls.

The offered Johnny Unitas 1960’s Baltimore Colts game-worn helmet originates directly from the Unitas family and is described in an accompanying letter of provenance from John Unitas Jr. as “The most significant piece of memorabilia from the Unitas family collection.” The letter also asserts that this helmet has remained in the family’s sole custody since Johnny Unitas last wore it. Few objects in the realm of football memorabilia could inspire more awe than a helmet worn by Johnny U in the field of battle, and no such object could come with a finer pedigree that the one we present here as part of our April Internet Auction.

Bidding on theseare hundreds of other top-notch itrems opens on April 15 and closes on April 30. An online preview of the entire auction will be featured on our website beginning April 10.

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