By Brian Cullen
An athlete’s jersey number is part of their DNA. For instance: who’s number 23? You don’t even have to look it up. Plus, didn’t it look weird when #23 was wearing #45? Case in point. Some players are so closely intertwined with their numbers that separating out the two is nearly impossible. But in some cases, athletes have been known to sell their numbers for some interesting bargains. Here are our top 5 favorite jersey transactions.
5. Ifeanyi Ohalete Tries to Sell for $40K. Gets Half. Goes to Court.
Say what you will about Clinton Portis aka Sheriff Gonna Getcha aka Southeast Jerome aka etc etc etc. He’s a shady businessman. In 2005, Portis agreed to purchase Ohalete’s number (26) for $40,000. However, Ohalete was released, and Portis stopped paying. In the end, he only coughed up about $20,000. As a result, Ohalete took Portis to court for the rest of the agreed upon payment.
4. Tom Glavine Buys a Baby Nursery.
Reportedly, Tom Glavine was never terribly attached to the number 47. But when he joined the pros the number found him, and so he kept it throughout his career. When he was acquired by the Mets, he suddenly found himself negotiating with Joe McEwing. Next thing you know, McEwing’s got a new nursery for his baby in his home.
3. Jeff Feagles Sells Two Numbers, Hits Payday.
Former Giants punter Jeff Feagles was wearing #10 when Eli Manning joined the team. That’s when he gladly gave up the jersey in exchange for a one-week vacation in Florida. His new number? 17. And of course, it was shortly thereafter that Plaxico Burress joined the team. Meaning Feagles was now the recipient of a brand new outdoor kitchen. It’s not every day you see a punter score twice.
2. John Kruk Settles for a Cold One.
John Kruk made just about the most low-key deal ever in 1991, when he gave up the number 28 to Mitch Williams for two cases of beer.
Funny as it is, there’s an element of Kruk being a good guy. Apparently, Williams’ wife had a bunch of 28 jewelry, and he didn’t want to end up buying a bunch more. So he set the price point low.
1. Chris Kluwe Gets a Sweet Deal.
During Donovan McNabb’s short-lived tenure with the Minnesota Vikings, he requested to wear #5, which was being worn by punter Chris Kluwe. Kluwe gave up the number, in exchange for a number of conditions: 1) McNabb had to write a check for $5,000 to the charity of Kluwe’s choice, 2) he had to mention Kluwe’s band, Tripping Icarus, in five press conferences, and 3) he had to buy him an ice cream cone. Reportedly, McNabb wrote the check and mentioned the band three times, but he never ended up purchasing the ice cream cone.