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1984 Game Ball given to VIP by Jim Kelly


This 1984 USFL game ball has an interesting story to tell. It was acquired by Houston-Gamblers.com from noted Buffalo sports historian John Boutet. The ball was personally given to him by Jim Kelly in the Gamblers locker room after a home game in the Astrodome. Boutet was in town to visit his uncle, who was a Gamblers VIP with full access to the players. After a chat that lasted several minutes, Kelly grabbed this ball from inside his locker and handed it to Boutet as a gift.


John Boutet and Jim Kelly's paths would cross years later, at a signing for Kelly's "Hunter's Hope" foundation. This is when Kelly signed the ball, "Big, Bad John, Jim Kelly 12" with a silver Sharpie.


The football shows light use, which is common for those used inside an indoor arena. We have no way of knowing whether it was actually used in a game or just practice, but we do know that any ball possessed by Jim Kelly in 1984 is very welcome in our collection!


Jim Kelly chugs a beer and talks football at the 2010 Gamblers Reunion.

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