Sometimes, it helps to have $264,000 on hand.
Purdue alum and current NFL star Drew Brees (maybe you’ve heard of him?) received a message from his friend Orlando Itin, who runs a locally famous pizza shop on Purdue’s campus. Itin, Brees said, has a fascination with Purdue memorabilia, and had learned of an authentic John Wooden jersey from the legendary UCLA coach’s playing days in college — back in the early 1930s. It was going up for auction in Dallas, through Heritage Auctions.
Brees and Itin made a snap decision: they needed to return the legendary jersey to Purdue’s campus where it belonged, no matter what the cost.
So they did.
— Drew Brees (@drewbrees) May 30, 2018
The school revealed the jersey’s arrival at Purdue’s Mackie Arena on Tuesday at an event for Boilermakers fans. Brees was supposed to attend the event and unveil the jersey himself, but weather got in the way of Brees’ flight. So he recorded the video above to let Purdue fans know how it all went down.
John Wooden’s #Purdue jersey is coming home.
— Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) May 30, 2018
According to the Journal & Courier, Tom Schott, Purdue’s senior associate athletic director for communications, said “plans for the the display and care of the jersey are still being discussed.” Schott and the school reached out to College Football Hall of Fame for help on how to treat the nearly-century-old piece of history — a piece of history that, thanks to Brees, has been returned to its original home.