What You Need to Know: Menendez Brothers

1990 basketball card appears to show Menendez brothers in background 

A sports card that has been practically worthless for more than 25 years has suddenly become a sensation in the collectibles hobby.

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That’s because the two men in the background of a 1990-91 Hoops basketball card of Mark Jackson look like the infamous Menendez brothers, the New York Daily News reported.

While there has been no confirmation that the two men pictured are indeed Lyle and Erik Menendez, it is possible that the brothers, convicted in 1996 for their parents' murders in 1989, could have been sitting courtside at Madison Square Garden, Sports Collectors Daily reported.

Neither the brothers nor Jackson have commented about the card.

Twitter user John Rosenberger tweeted Friday that a poster on the Reddit website named Pirate_Redbeard wrote that Lyle and Erik Menendez appear to have been sitting in front-row seats when Jackson's card photo was taken during the 1989-90 NBA season.

Which game was it? The Knicks played 28 home games before the brothers were arrested in March 1990, and no opposing players are included in the photo, so it’s difficult to say.

The Reddit entry echoed an Aug. 9 Instagram post by jgold50, a self-described “collector of random things, mostly mortality subject matter.”

Lyle Menendez, now 50, and Erik Menendez, who turned 48 on Nov. 27, are now serving life sentences without parole after fatally shooting Jose and Mary “Kitty” Menendez on Aug. 20, 1989. Both men are currently serving time at the R.J. Correctional Facility in San Diego, according to CBS News.
Before the brothers were arrested in Beverly Hills, California, on March 8, 1990, they spent a large amount of their parents’ money, according to court records. The brothers took trips and bought cars. Lyle Menendez bought a chicken wing restaurant in New Jersey, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1994.

Darren Rovell, a sports business reporter for The Action Network, tweeted that the Jackson card was selling on eBay for as much as $30

“This checks out,” Rovell wrote in a different tweet. “Menendez murder happened Aug. 20, 1989. Brothers were apprehended March 1990. Photo was taken at MSG in 1989-90 season and set came out before 1990-91 season.”

Jackson played seven of his 17 seasons in the NBA for the Knicks and coached the Golden State Warriors from 2011 to 2014. He is currently a commentator for ESPN.

By Sunday night, Amazon had eight cards for sale. One seller jokingly referred to it as the “Menendez Brothers rookie card.”

Rob Veres, the owner of Burbank Sportscards in Southern California, told Sports Collectors Daily he sold 130 of the Jackson cards recently. 

“We knew about it a few months ago and bought up a few hundred of them thinking it could be something special if the general public discovered it,” Veres told the collectibles website. “Those cards, along with 100 cards we had in regular stock, gave us a nice quantity. We started selling them at $7.99 months ago and they moved all right, but when the Reddit post went viral and it hit Bleacher Report as well as the hobby sites, things got crazy.” 

Even after raising prices, Veres told Sports Collectors Daily said he was able to sell the cards for as much as $24.99 apiece.

“The mind-blowing stat is the 8,349 page views for this single listing, 7,000 of which have been in the past 36 hours,” Veres said. “I can’t recall ever seeing anything like that.”

It’s not the first time infamous persons have appeared in the background of a photograph. A photograph exists of John Wilkes Booth in attendance at the second presidential inauguration of Abraham Lincoln on March 4, 1865, History.com reported in 2015. Six weeks later, Booth would assassinate Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre in Washington.

The Jackson card now becomes an oddity among sports cards, to be placed next to the 1989 Fleer baseball card of Billy Ripken with an obscenity written on the bat knob and the 1994-95 Pinnacle hockey card of Sylvain Turgeon, which featured future Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane watching from the stands as a child.

 

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