George Duran’s home in Corona was ransacked and burglarized Saturday night. During the break-in, cash and jewelry estimated to be worth about $6,000 were stolen from the safe.
But perhaps the biggest loss for Duran and his family is a sports memorabilia whose emotional value cannot be overstated: a Kobe Bryant rookie card he’s owned since the late ’90s.
“I ended up swapping it for one of my teachers,” Duran told KTLA. “I get a little emotional at times. Not just the beginning of the card, but its entire history.”
Like most people, the lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan has an emotional bond with the basketball icon.
He was able to get Kobe Bryant to sign the card at the Mamba Basketball Championship in Anaheim, just a month before the 2020 helicopter crash that would cost the NBA legend, his daughter and seven others. people lost their lives.
Crystal Duran said the card has a special meaning for everyone in the family of five.
“Obviously, with Kobe and Gigi Bryant gone, it’s even more valuable and closer to our hearts because they’re not here anymore,” Crystal Duran said.
Crystal found Kobe’s daughter Gigi during the game, hoping to sign the card. She signed it and went beyond.
“I said, ‘Hey, we have a rookie card, but I don’t want to bother your dad.’ She said, ‘Okay. “I was like, ‘It’s really old, before you.'”
Gigi then took her card to show her dad.
“At first I couldn’t believe it,” Crystal Duran said.
Bryant signed it, and his staff quickly returned the card to the family.
Crystal Duran says it’s something you can’t put a price tag on.
For the Durans, the card was priceless, symbolizing their love for the sports icon and the unforgettable moments they shared with their daughter.
“I hope it will be returned…I cannot assign any value to it,” Duran said. “I hope to pass it on to my first-born grandson one day.”
George Duran has never appraised the card, but he estimates it could be worth thousands of dollars.
The Corona Police Department is investigating the break-in and is urging anyone with information to contact detectives at 951-736-2330, ext. 2. You can also call the 24-hour anonymous whistleblower hotline at 951-817-5837.