You can be the new owner of Kobe Bryant's famous mask ... if you pony up for charity. (Getty Images)
After a Dwyane Wade foul during the All-Star game broke his nose and concussed him, Kobe Bryant had to wear a plastic face mask on the court to prevent further damage while his nose healed while he pressed on for a Los Angeles Lakers team that needed its top gun as it fought for playoff positioning in the competitive Western Conference.
Bryant never seemed totally comfortable in the mask — he described the feeling of wearing it as "like [having] a sauna on my face" and said he "was drinking my own sweat" under there, which is lovely — despite trying multiple models, including a black mask that was smaller and made him look like he was cosplaying as Kato but didn't exactly do wonders for his shooting touch (he missed 8 of 10 field-goal tries as the Man in Black). Nevertheless, Bryant performed well under the mask, averaging 29.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game, according to Basketball-Reference.com, as the Lakers went 9-2 during the 11-masquerade stretch.
When he was cleared to play without it, Bryant said he'd "see if anybody's dumb enough to buy that sweaty mask." Now, thanks to Kobe, his wife Vanessa and eBay, you can be that dummy.
This is your chance to own a piece of NBA history. For a basketball fan, this is an amazing, one-of-a kind sports artifact. 100% of the proceeds benefit the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation's Youth Homelessness Initiative, the primary goal of which is to have a measurable, positive impact on the critical issue of youth homelessness in Los Angeles.
Bidding's already up to $2,550 as of 9:40 a.m. Eastern time Wednesday, so you're probably going to have to step your funds up if you want to secure this one-of-a-kind item. It's for a good cause, so please bid generously, even if the guy auctioning it off thinks you would be a total moron for buying it. Don't compound your idiocy by being stingy, you jerk of a chump.
On the court, Bryant was sensational in the Lakers' 104-100 win over the Denver Nuggets in Tuesday's late game, scoring 38 points in 39 1/2 minutes (and doing so on a sharply efficient 15-of-29 mark from the floor) to stake L.A. to a 2-0 lead in their first-round series as the action shifts to Colorado for Game 3 on Friday night. A year after being swept out of the second round by the eventual champion Dallas Mavericks and wondered "how [he] was ever going to play basketball again," Bryant told Y!'s Adrian Wojnarowski he feels "brand new" and in fine form to make a run at another ring.
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