Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s Philadelphia-area high school shrine was broken into on Sunday and the thieves made out with quite a haul of the NBA legend’s memorabilia. Or so they thought.
Authorities are investigating the theft of several items that were lifted from a display case outside the Bryant Gymnasium at Lower Merion High School, where Bryant famously played. While the looters likely assumed that the case known as “Kobe’s Shrine” was filled with valuable relics, the school says that the items are mostly nostalgic and aren’t worth much.
Among the stolen items were a 1996 state championship trophy and net from the title game, a framed replica of Bryant’s Lower Merion jersey and some Nike sneakers signed by the Lakers legend.
“While the items from the case are not of significant monetary value, they do have a great deal of sentimental importance,” said Lower Merion principal Sean Hughes in statement that was emailed to parents on Monday. “They represent a wonderful time of accomplishment, unity and pride for our school community — the 1996 state championship — and celebrate an alumnus who has made lasting contributions to our school and the sports world.
The school is hoping to recover the sentimental items and restore “Kobe’s Shrine” back to its original state.
“Material items can be replaced and we will make every effort to restore and even enhance the contents of the case with the help of alumni and friends,” Hughes said. “And even if we cannot replace all the items, the moments that produced them are still very much alive in our memories and honored through the ongoing traditions of Aces Nation.”
Bryant, 38, started for Lower Merion’s varsity team as a freshman and finished his high school career with 2,883 points, more than another Philadelphia-area legend, Wilt Chamberlain (2,252).