Ardmore, Lower Merion Township, PA — It's taken more than two years and traveled to the other side of the globe, but Kobe Bryant's missing jersey has finally made its way back home to Lower Merion High School.
The jersey was obtained by Liu Zhe, 28, a proud "Kobe stan" from Harbin, China, in October of 2018. Liu said he purchased the jersey for approximately $2,000 to add it to his Kobe collection that he keeps in his home in Heilongjiang province.
An ESPN story that broke the news stated that after having the jersey in his possession, the eagle-eyed Liu noticed how closely the jersey he purchased resembled the jersey reported stolen in 2017. Also stolen were Lower Merion's 1996 PIAA Boys' Basketball 4A State Championship trophy, Bryant's Parade All-American plaque, as well as several game programs and five pairs of Bryant's signature Nike sneakers done up in the Aces' maroon and white color scheme.
After making this discovery Liu connected with a representative from Lower Merion's basketball team through Instagram, and agreed to mail the jersey back to the school.
Lower Merion School District officials reported Tuesday that they received the jersey last week, and handed it over to Lower Merion Police for assistance. The LMPD consulted an area memorabilia shop, and together they verified the signature on the uniform as authentic.
A little-known trivia tidbit is that Bryant never wore the jersey in a game. The school had ten replica jerseys made up when the school retired his No. 33 early on in Bryant's career with the Lakers. Bryant signed the ten jerseys, and they were distributed to team boosters and school officials, with one being kept for display purposes.
The Lower Merion Police Department's investigation is ongoing in hopes of recovering the rest of the stolen items taken on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2017 and bringing the two unidentified thieves caught on security video that night to justice.
Police officials reported that Liu provided as much detail as possible about the seller to assist in the investigation.
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