Texas Western Championship Jersey Auction

A game-worn Texas Western jersey from the historic 1966 championship game is on the auction block.

The jersey believed to be the one worn by Texas Western point guard Willie Worsley during the 1966 national championship game against Kentucky is heading to auction.

Photo The jersey was saved for more than 30 years by Danny Whitlock, a backup point guard for UTEP from 1970-72. Whitlock said he was a graduate assistant for head coach Don Haskins after his playing career, and obtained six of the game-used jerseys in 1974. “We were in the gym and I heard that the trainers were going to throw them away because they had to make room for more equipment,” said Whitlock, who is now 56 and needs the money to put toward the cost of a liver transplant and 24-hour care for his handicapped son. “So they gave me them in a laundry bag and I put them in my trunk.”

Whitlock had no idea that any of the jerseys would be considered valuable one day. He said he gave the jerseys to his friends and they wore them for pickup games. Whitlock said he wore the No. 14 jersey of Bobby Joe Hill, the star guard of the team. When it got ripped and tattered, Whitlock said he threw it out. The only surviving jersey of his lot is Worsley’s, which Whitlock said he never wore. “I thought I’d keep one for old time’s sake,” Whitlock said. “It’s amazing I still have it. I’ve rescued it out of a few garage sales.”

Whitlock and his wife, needing to pay off their debts, looked around the house a few months ago trying to find items that would have some value. They figured the jersey might be worth a couple of hundred dollars. When they heard that the story of the 1966 national championship game, in which Texas Western started five African-American players and beat Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky team, would be memorialized in a book and a movie, both titled “Glory Road,” the Whitlocks knew that it was time to part with the jersey.

Thanks in part to the historical nature of the item, combined with the attention from the book — which hit shelves in November — and the movie, which was released nationwide on Friday, the auction house has estimated that the jersey is now worth between $8,000 and $10,000. The movie was made by an arm of the Walt Disney Co., which is the parent company of ESPN.

If there was ever a reason to sell something of that much historical significance, a liver transplant and treatment for your kid is it.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. spencer says:

    I wonder what it says about our system that a successful, middle class, American is being driven to this to cover his families medical expenses. what would happen if he hadn’t been so “lucky” to have these valuable assets.

  2. James Joyner says:

    The fact that he apparently doesn’t have medical insurance at age 56 may refute the idea the he’s “a successful, middle class, American.”

  3. spencer says:

    James — the quoted article does say anything about his health insurance.

    What is your source for the statement that he did not have health insurance ?

  4. James Joyner says:

    Spencer: Health insurance, at least decent health insurance, pays the type of costs Whitlock is purportedly selling the jersey to pay. Ergo, one presumes he either is uninsured or has very paltry health insurance.

    Successful middle aged men with families tend to have very good health insurance. Ergo. . .

  5. spencer says:

    I can assume the moon is made of green cheese, but that does not make me correct.

    Actually, many employeed people who think they have good insurance end up in the position he is when they find their insurance is not as good as they thought.

    What is it about conservatives that they so often just assume the facts?

    Maybe if you were a little more careful with facts you would have more credibility.

  6. kevin says:

    not always does medical ins. cover all of the expenses for a liver transplant i know one of my friends had the same problem with her medical ins. not covering all the costs of her transplant and she is very well off so just cus the man has a good job and good ins.dosent mean that his coverage is high enough