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Auction house pulls Isiah Thomas All-Star MVP trophy after claims it was stolen

Thomas says the trophy was taken from St. Joseph High School the night coach Gene Pingatore died.

Former St. Joseph and NBA star Isiah Thomas embraces coach Gene Pingatore during a celebration in 2009.
Former St. Joseph and NBA star Isiah Thomas embraces coach Gene Pingatore during a celebration in 2009.
STNG/The Doings Newspapers

Isiah Thomas’ plea for the return of his stolen trophy may be answered.

On Monday, the Hall of Famer tweeted that the 1984 NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy listed on the Heritage Auction site had been stolen from St. Joseph High School in 2019.

“This trophy was stolen from St. Joseph High School the night Mr. Pingatore my coach died it belongs to me,” Thomas tweeted. “You stole my trophy please return it!”

Heritage Auctions, which said the trophy had been consigned to the auction house by a sports-memorabilia dealer in the Midwest, responded to Thomas’ tweet by pulling the trophy from its scheduled Aug. 29-30 auction and launching an investigation.

“Based on extensive conversations Tuesday with Thomas, a Westchester Police Department detective and a St. Joseph official, the trophy will remain in Heritage Auctions’ Dallas offices,” Heritage Auctions said in a new release. “The auction house will continue working with law enforcement, Thomas, St. Joseph and the consignor to reach a swift resolution to this issue.”

According to the release, Thomas informed the auction house that he had loaned the trophy to his alma mater in Westchester, Illinois, where Thomas attended school and played under coach Gene Pingatore, who died on June 26, 2019, at age 82.

“For me and my family, the silver lining in all of this is that it showed up at your house [Heritage Auctions],” Thomas said in the release. “We never would have known, so we are grateful and I am thankful that the item was found and will be returned.”

Read more at usatoday.com