Four years ago, Drake sat courtside in his home city of Toronto for the 2016 NBA All-Star Game wearing some custom made ‘Farewell Mamba’ memorabilia. The jacket was designed by Jeff Hamilton, the iconic NBA leather jacket designer, and features Kobe Bryant, the text ‘Farewell Mamba,’ the year ‘2016,’ along with the OVO owl logo. The custom piece retailed for $7,000 but Hamilton sold it to Drake for $3,000. Hamilton made a social media-based deal with OVO to sell the jacket for far under the retail price, and it paid off immensely.
During the Scoop B Radio Podcast, Hamilton expressed that choosing to have Drake feature the jacket on Instagram was his best business decision to date. “I cut him a deal,” Hamilton explained. “Usually I sell those types of jackets for $7,000, but I said $3,000 and asked him to expose the jacket to Instagram. Ultimately, we went way over and got like 2 million likes and within a weekend, my Instagram jumped up to 50,000 followers. So that was a good business move.”
As more controversy begins to soar around the pilot who was flying at the time of Kobe’s crash, the price and fandom demand for memorabilia continues to increase. The most expensive Bryant collectible on eBay to date is a Spalding ball used in Bryant’s first Championship in 2000. Bryant’s signature is among others inscribed on the ball. The ball, listed for sale from Beverly Hills, California starts at $2.888 million along with a $240 shipping fee. Other precious memorabilia, like a signed towel used by Bryant in-game, is selling for ninety thousand USD.
Drake has been a long-time fan of the NBA is humorlessly titled as the ‘Acting Assistant Coach’ to the Toronto Raptors. Motivational speeches are one thing, but Drakes courtside antics have gone overboard in the past. During the 2019 Eastern Conference finals, the Milwaukee Bucks coach called the rapper’s heckling out which warranted a response from the NBA. Described as a ‘superfan’ the NBA commissioner made it clear that Drake gets a pass, since he works so closely with the Raptors organization, but a normal courtside fan would be removed.
Hamilton’s ‘Farewell Mamba’ jacket continues to pull the most publicity, but the designer has created many other legendary garments. Pictured throughout Jeff Hamilton’s Instagram are numerous stars bearing their custom-made jackets. In one post, both Scottie Pippen & Michael Jordan are pictured holding their limited-edition Chicago Bull jackets. In another post, a young Fresh Prince Will Smith is also seen wearing a Chicago Bulls jacket. The value of memorabilia can be difficult to estimate, but something like Hamilton’s ‘Farewell Mamba’ jacket will always be a timeless item.