First basketball Olympic gold medal up for auction

Invoice Dennis recollects the tales his spouse’s father Invoice Wheatley would inform about taking part in within the 1936 Olympics

Invoice Dennis recollects the tales his spouse’s father Invoice Wheatley would inform about taking part in within the 1936 Olympics.

It used to be the primary time basketball used to be a medal game within the global match, and the USA gained gold in Berlin. As staff captain, Wheatley went as much as the rostrum throughout the medal rite and won the Olympic wreath and primary basketball gold medal from James Naismith, who invented the sport. His teammates every won their medals in a while.

“Going to the Olympics after which successful and being the primary individual to obtain the Olympic gold medal for basketball used to be an excessive honor for him,” the 78-year-old Dennis informed The Related Press in a phone interview from his house in El Cerrito, California. “He couldn’t describe the sensation to get the medal, the crowds and the entirety.”

With the game’s recognition nonetheless in its infancy — and ahead of the delivery of the NBA — the Olympic organizers had the video games performed on an outside dust courtroom. America beat the Philippines 56-23 within the quarterfinals, after which defeated Mexico 25-10 within the semifinals to advance to the gold medal sport in opposition to Canada.

The championship used to be then performed throughout a rainstorm with puddles in every single place the courtroom that made dribbling tricky. The U.S. gained 19-Eight, helped via its peak merit that allowed it to go the ball somewhat extra successfully.

“He’d say, ‘You’ll be able to’t consider it. You’d take the rattling ball and also you’re dribbling, and the rattling ball’s no longer bouncing,’” Dennis remembers Wheatley pronouncing. “He stated, ‘It used to be simply dust and puddles and water. … It used to be exhausting to move from side to side at the courtroom. It used to be depressing.’ They had been overjoyed they gained the sport.”

Wheatley, a local of Gypsum, Kansas, used to be taking part in AAU basketball for his corporate staff whilst running for Globe Oil & Refining Co. on the time he made the Olympic staff. After the Berlin Video games, Wheatley performed AAU ball for a number of years, after which were given into training ahead of going into carpentry within the past due 1940s.

Dennis married Wheatley’s daughter Suzanne in 1968, and recollects an incident a couple of years later when his spouse’s father’s area used to be burglarized. A number of silver cash had been stolen out of a tv cupboard however the gold medal in the similar drawer used to be left at the back of. Wheatley used to be then persuaded to ship some pieces, together with the gold medal and AAU championship trophies to the Basketball Corridor of Reputation.

Wheatley died in 1992, and when the Corridor of Reputation returned the pieces to his circle of relatives they went to Dennis as executor of Wheatley’s property. Now, he’s made up our minds to promote them as a part of Heritage Auctions’ Iciness Platinum Evening Sports activities Public sale choices.

Dennis says Wheatley had informed him, “When you ever need to promote the medal, do just it. Someone will respect it. I made up our minds it used to be time for the medal to transport on.”

Heritage has estimated the medal may just opt for greater than $60,000. In 2015, the medal awarded to Wheatley’s teammate Carl Shy used to be offered at public sale for $66,000.

Every other notable merchandise to be had within the public sale is a signed letter via baseball celebrity Lou Gehrig to his docs on the Mayo Hospital wherein he discusses his ALS. The letter is dated Dec. 2, 1939 — just about 5 months after his “Luckiest Guy” speech at Yankee Stadium. The four-page letter, estimated to be valued round $80,000, concludes with a pencil signature and a word to his physician pronouncing he used to be offering “a specimen of my handwriting.”

“A glance into this letter and into his correspondence along with his docs makes for a in point of fact neat piece,” stated Chris Ivy, Heritage’s director of sports activities auctions. “As a way to have what really well may well be his closing signed letter could be very fascinating to a collector and one thing that in point of fact used to be in a position to set their assortment aside as one of the most elite autograph collections on the earth.”

Bidding at the pieces within the public sale ends Sunday.


Observe Vin Cherwoo at


Extra AP sports activities: and—Sports activities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: