As the greatest safety in pro football history, Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott spent his 14-year career hitting NFL quarterbacks and running backs.
He has also spent much of his adult life helping others through All Stars Helping Kids, a non-profit organization he founded in 1989 to help children from low-income neighborhoods and marginalized communities.
Now the former San Francisco 49ers stars is stepping up again to help impoverished Bay Area kids.
Lott is auctioning off part of his extensive sports memorabilia collection to help raise money for All Stars Helping Kids. More than 135 items from the Ronnie Lott Collection, which includes memorabilia from his career and from other Hall of Famers from football, basketball and baseball, will be available during Heritage Auctions’ May 12-14 Sports Catalog Auction. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Lott’s Bay Area charity.
“When you think of the COVID situation, of all the angst we’ve seen over the last three or four years, it just made me realize there’s just so much more to do in terms of trying to help young people,” Lott said through Heritage Auctions. “When I was a kid, I had so many people doing the same thing for me — trying to educate me, trying to find ways to lift me up. And there is no better time now to hold this auction, when we’re still in a very challenging, difficult time.”
The Lott Collection spans his remarkable NFL and college career, including such items as:
• A game-worn, signed jersey photo-matched to Super Bowl XXIV in New Orleans in 1990.
• A Kansas City Chiefs jersey worn during the 1995 preseason.
• A game-worn jersey photo-matched to a 1993 game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals.
• His 2012 “EA Sports Gamers” jersey awarded by the makers of Madden NFL.
• A signed copy of his 1987 49ers playbook.
• A maroon satin University of Southern California jacket from the 1980 Rose Bowl.
• A framed USC Trojans jersey.
Lott is also offering several signed items that include autographs from some of his Hall of Fame teammates, including a Candlestick Park seat back bearing the signatures of Jerry Rice, Joe Montana and Steve Young and a bronze helmet likewise signed by all four 49ers greats.
“As an avid football fan since the age of 9, I saw Ronnie Lott play from a rookie to the end of his career, and he’s the greatest safety I’ve ever seen play and one of the greatest defensive players of all time, and that’s a fact,” Heritage Auctions Executive Vice President Derek Grady said in a release announcing the auction.
“When he decided to hold this auction, I met with him and his family, and aside from the fact he was one hell of football player, he’s also just a genuinely wonderful guy. His nonprofit, and the auction being held to benefit it, proves that.”
Lott’s collection also extends beyond his own Hall of Fame career, amassing memorabilia from other sports greats and friends. Included are:
• A pair of game-worn circa-1987 Converse Weapons signed by Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
• 1992 Dream Team jerseys signed by Johnson and Larry Bird.
• A signed bat from Mickey Mantle commemorating his 536 career home runs.
• A game-worn Dave Parker Toronto Blue Jays jersey photo-matched to 1991.
• A New York Giants helmet bearing a note from Lawrence Taylor that reads, “To my man, Ronnie Lott. Good luck in the life after football that is!”
According to Heritage, Lott treasures the memorabilia in his collection, especially the pieces he has received from other famous athletes and friends.
Now it’s time, he says, for them to benefit a greater cause.
“We work with untapped and overlooked youth in low-income communities and provide them with opportunities to achieve their full potential, and that’s what Ronnie has been excited about,” David Greco, executive director of All Stars Helping Kids, told Heritage. “His commitment has always been: How do we provide these disadvantaged youths with the opportunity to achieve all they are capable of?”
“These are all amazing items, but they’re providing opportunities to save lives,” Lott said through Heritage. “That is how I was raised, what my parents taught me. Do the right thing at the right time, and it will come back to help you somewhere down the road. So many of our kids have been left behind, especially over the last two years, and we’re going to need more resources as we continue to come out of this. It’s important we look at ourselves and know things like this could be the difference for so many who need so much.”