Murder Memorabilia Collectors May Want a Menendez Brothers Basketball Card


May 2 2023, Published 10:59 a.m. ET

The Menendez brothers were never basketball stars, but there's a piece of basketball memorabilia that features them. As an eagle-eyed crime writer was able to spot, the brothers appear on a basketball card from the 1990–1991 season, which was after their parents were murdered. They're in the background of the #205 Mark Jackson basketball card.

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This strange coincidence has made the 1990 Hoops basketball card an object of fascination in some corners of the internet, especially among those who are more interested in murder memorabilia than they are in basketball memorabilia.

Which basketball card are the Menendez brothers on?

The Menendez brothers, Erik and Lyle, are known because they were convicted for murdering their parents in 1989. The brothers initially attempted to pin the crime on the mob, and once they were caught, they claimed they were victims of sexual abuse.

During the period between their parents' murder and their arrest, though, the brothers went on something of a spending spree with the money from their parents' life insurance policies.

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One stop on that spending spree was apparently courtside seats for a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden. According to reports, their spending totaled more than $700,000, which made authorities suspicious of the brothers. It's also what led crime writer Stephen Zerance to go looking for documentation of the brothers as they were on their money-fueled bender. Stephen was apparently looking for evidence that the brothers really did go on the spending spree.

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That investigation ultimately led Stephen to carefully look through basketball cards from the 1990–1991 season, only to discover that the brothers appear in the background of a Mark Jackson basketball card from that season.

Stephen posted his discovery of the brothers on Twitter, but the image didn't get much traction until it hit Reddit.

eBay banned the sale of the Menendez brothers basketball card.

After it was discovered that the Menendez brothers were on the card, eBay banned the sale of it under its prohibition for the sale of anything "affiliated with murders or serial killers.” These kinds of bans can be difficult to enforce, though, in part because the Menendez brothers aren't even the focal point of the image. In the years since this initial discovery, the card has become much more valuable, and now sells for around $20 on Amazon.

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Source: Twitter/@beckettcollect

$20 is still a relatively small price to pay, but it speaks to the value many collectors ascribe to artifacts and memorabilia related to specific killers. An auction of things belonging to Unibomber Ted Kaczynski brought in more than $190,000, and included a single $20,000 sale of one of his sweaters and the sunglasses that were featured in the infamous sketch of him.

As true crime stories have made clear, some people have a sort of sick fascination with people who kill, and that fascination has only grown in recent years. Of course, that fascination is part of the reason some killers are motivated to commit crimes. It's a self-reinforcing cycle that we don't seem to know any way to get out of cleanly.

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