When the buyer of the old Rupp Arena basketball goals purchased the well-used equipment last year from the Lexington Center, he said he really had only one worry.
“My concern was that if UK has a really bad season this year, they’re going to want their old units back,” said Dan Shaw, owner of Mountain States School Equipment in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Getting them back would be a pretty big ordeal now, however, considering two of them are in the Philippines. Rupp’s third goal (one was a backup) is in a warehouse in Troy, N.Y.
“I’ve never been to the Philippines … I never thought of the Philippines as a basketball Mecca, but I know over the years this one guy has bought probably 50 portables,” Shaw said, at one point joking, “I don’t know what they are doing with them. Maybe they’re sinking them and using them for artificial reefs.”
Used in Rupp Arena from 2001 through 2016, the Lexington Center briefly considered auctioning the three goals, perhaps, as memorabilia. It soon found out there wasn’t really a market like that for them.
“They’re huge. They are bigger than a car,” Shaw said. “People can’t park one in your man cave.”
I’ve never been to the Philippines … I never thought of the Philippines as a basketball Mecca, but I know over the years this one guy has bought probably 50 portables.
Dan Shaw, who bought three basketball goals from Rupp Arena
Shaw, a former national sales manager for Spalding, used to sell brand-new goals for the sports manufacturing giant (new ones cost more than $14,000 apiece). One problem, he said, was that his buyers always needed to get rid of their old goals, somehow. And Spalding wouldn’t take them in trade.
But Shaw also had his own sports equipment business, and it quickly became the aftermarket for the used goals.
Through his connections at Spalding, Shaw learned of Rupp’s set and bought all three for $6,100. That’s four times what he usually offers.
“We did it because they assured us they would be in really good shape,” Shaw said. “And I had been in Rupp Arena a few times with Spalding. I know most of the arenas around the country and how well people take care of their equipment or don’t take care of it.”
For instance, Shaw said he would avoid goals used in arenas run by hockey teams because the basketball equipment is not as well maintained.
Lexingon Center sold the goals after the University of Kentucky requested new baskets in Rupp Arena. UK wanted the same Spalding model basket it uses in the Craft Center practice court and in Memorial Coliseum. Rupp had been using The Basketball Products International Model 10,000.
All the goals Shaw obtains are stripped of their markings and completely refurbished. The third Rupp goal is one of about 15-20 available for rental from Shaw’s other company, Adirondack Athletics.
Most rentals go out each tournament season as sports networks or conferences set them up for various fan zones. ESPN rented a pair for their Final Four set this year, he said. Rentals also are often used during the summer league and camp season.
As it turns out, the Philippines, a nation of more than 7,000 islands and more than 100 million people, has its own professional basketball league. Former Missouri player Ricardo Ratliffe is the league’s leading scorer. And the demand for goals there remains high, Shaw said. He just acquired six goals from the University of Montana. One of his first emails was to a buyer in the Philippines.