Imagine yourself, an avid sports jersey collector, sitting at home and seeing one of your most cherished pieces of that collection on the sidelines at the NBA Finals.
That’s what Game One was like for Ben Weil, a 34-year-old basketball and Dell Curry fan from Queens, New York. Weil’s prized retro #30 Dell Curry Raptors jersey stole the show when celebrity superfan Drake showed up wearing it at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena on Thursday Night.
Weil purchased the signed 2001 purple road jersey about six years ago when former Raptor Michael Stewart was unloading some of his personal collection.
He was contacted by a friend Monday on behalf of Select Vintage, a Brooklyn-based shop who had done business with Drake in the past. The friend knew of the large collection and had recalled seeing a Curry Raptors jersey on a past Instagram post of his. He needed a Raptors’ Curry jersey immediately.
“He asks me how much I want to sell it for but I did not want to sell it. I was very clear that I did not want to sell it”, Weil told SportsLogos.Net. “He kept pushing so I knew it must have been for a special reason. We talked about it for a while and I agreed. He assured me it wasn’t for himself but he couldn’t reveal any more details”
Weil wasn’t told the jersey was for Drake but he had a feeling that’s where it was headed; collected by his friend Tuesday and quickly driven up to Toronto from New York City to get there in time for Game One.
“Who else needed this jersey so badly? I figured it was someone in the spotlight that wanted to troll the Warriors. It made perfect sense.”
Knowing it had the potential to be seen by the entire basketball world is what finally pushed Weil over the edge to part with his jersey.
“I understood it would be a big deal and there would be a huge spotlight on it and it would make for a great story, so that allowed me to make my peace with letting it go. As a collector, I had no interest in ever letting it go.”
Without naming the price he got for it, Weil did say it was enough to cover the cost of replacing the jersey — he pointed to another Curry jersey, one from his days with the Charlotte Hornets, was still in his collection “softening the blow” of losing his Raptors one.
Weil never had a chance to talk to Drake about the jersey but had a message for him.
“Drake, if you ever want to sell it back, I’ll be ready with open arms and a wad of cash!”
Unfortunately for Weil, after the Raptors win over the Warriors in Game One, we’re not sure Drake will be parting with his new jersey anytime soon.