WST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees purchased a John Wooden Purdue basketball jersey for $264,000.
Brees bought it anonymously through an online auction in mid-May. The man who did the online bidding for him was West Lafayette restaurant owner Orlando Itin. Itin owns Bruno's Swiss Inn and is a friend of Brees. He said the New Orleans Saint's quarterback is an avid collector of Wooden Memorabilia.
Itin says as the bidding war hit $100,000, Brees texted him stating 'do whatever it takes.' He said Brees wanted the jersey to be in its rightful home in West Lafayette.
"Drew stepped up to the plate and instead of hitting a homerun, we hit a touchdown or we hit a three-pointer. Either way you want to look at it, it's a great accomplishment," Itin said. "It'll be there for history. For everybody to see."
Itin said the the jersey will remind people where the Wooden legacy began.
"A lot of people don't know he's from Indiana -- Martinsville and Purdue. People will come into the restaurant and see a picture of John Wooden and they'll go, 'I didn't know John Wooden went to Purdue.' All they can think of is UCLA," Itin said.
The jersey will eventually go on permanent display at Mackey Arena. $264,000 is the highest price ever paid for a college basketball jersey.