Troy Kinunen's heart rate spiked as the minutes ticked away on Saturday. He stared at his phone and dialed from Milwaukee to New York City repeatedly, test calls to make sure the voice on the other end of the auction would answer when it mattered most.
For a Milwaukee sports memorabilia collector chasing one of the biggest scores in the city's sports history, this moment brought the highest levels of stress.
"I had two phones, two extra batteries," said Kinunen, who runs the Milwaukee memorabilia evaluation and research company MEARS. "I was a nervous wreck for like three hours. I didn't want to miss it. I kept calling my contact. I had a backup phone. I took it real serious. I didn't want anything to go wrong."
In the end, Kinunen's agonizing made way for elation. He placed the winning bid of 80,000 on a home white Milwaukee Bucks jersey worn by Lew Alcindor from 1969-71. The jersey, Alcindor's last before he became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, was the only one available to the public. The...