Editor’s Note: Welcome to Hall of Thread. Logan Meyer has collected sports jerseys since middle school and has more than 250 to his name. Thrift stores across the world, trades and scouring online deals have helped him build his jersey empire, and in this series, he will explain some of his most prized basketball jerseys, how he got them, background on the player and teams and more. With a collection like his, you’re bound to find something unique.
Walking through the doors at Village Discount Outlet in Columbus, Ohio, the first stop every time for any avid jersey hunter is, unsurprisingly, the jersey rack. It’s a true rarity in a thrift store to have an entire section solely for jerseys. This haven for cheap, unusual jerseys located in the Mifflinville neighborhood of Columbus has been my go-to spot since 2015.
However, on this particular trip in 2016, the jersey rack had slim pickings. Maybe an old Peyton Hillis Cleveland Browns jersey and a very fake Lionel Messi Argentina jersey, but nothing really to write home about. So the next step was to check the rack that mixes men’s tank tops, lacrosse pinnies, and basketball jerseys all into one.
Shortly after beginning to scour through the smorgasbord of sleeveless tops, I found one of the most comical and obscure jerseys I have had the pleasure of thrifting over the past several years: an old Reebok Kwame Brown Washington Wizards jersey.
This was certainly my first overall pick of the thrifting trip.
Kwame Brown, the NBA’s first-ever No. 1 selection straight from high school, struggled mightily to live up to the lofty expectations that come with this title. In fact, the 6-foot-11 center out of Glynn Academy in Georgia is still one of only three players to fit that description, with the others being LeBron James and Dwight Howard.
Brown’s time in Washington ended in 2005, meaning this jersey must’ve been at least 11 years old when I purchased it in 2016. The jersey is in pristine condition and looks as though it’s almost never once been worn. Obviously, I had no complaints about the $6 price label that adorned the old Reebok tags. But beyond the condition, the jersey is primarily unique because of the player whose likeness it replicates. The two players picked directly after Brown, Tyson Chandler and Pau Gasol, are both NBA All-Stars and are much more recognizable names than Brown, which in my mind as a collector makes this jersey even more special.
I often wonder how the items I find on my thrift store outings arrive at the place and point in time in which I stumble upon them. The path a jersey such as this Kwame Brown one likely had to take to ultimately end up in a Columbus, Ohio, thrift store 11 years after his disappointing playing career with the Wizards had ended fascinates me. Although I’ll never know it’s true origin story, I have to imagine the jersey had quite a journey prior to joining the ranks of my collection.
The Lowdown on Kwame Brown
Brown, a 2001 McDonald’s All-American, was one of the most anticipated and highly touted high school prospects scouts had ever seen. After originally signing to play college basketball for Florida, Brown decided to forgo college and declare for the 2001 NBA Draft.
The Washington Wizards had the first pick in the draft, and team president Michael Jordan thought so highly of the young prospect that he used his team’s pick on the extremely raw and rather untested talent.
This decision unfortunately fell flat. And it fell about as flat as any first overall pick has in modern NBA history. Brown, instead of being compared to the likes of LeBron James and Dwight Howard as the only No. 1 picks directly out of high school, is now more alike with names such as Greg Oden and Anthony Bennett as the NBA’s greatest busts.
In his rookie season, Brown only started three games and averaged an underwhelming 4.5 points per game to go along with 3.5 rebounds. He did improve slightly and had his career-best season in 2003-2004, starting 57 games for the Wizards and averaging 10.9 points per game and 7.4 rebounds. However, Brown’s career will always be regarded as a clear disappointment. Over his 607 games in the NBA, Brown played for seven different teams – Wizards, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pistons, Bobcats, Warriors and 76ers – and finished with a career average of 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per contest when he ultimately left the league in 2013.
After playing one season in the BIG3 basketball league in 2017, Brown was most recently in the news for his 2019 arrest in Georgia on charges of felony possession of marijuana.