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Kobe Bryant: Hasmit Popat Bids $67,100 In Charity Auction For Laker Star's Sweaty Mask

Posted: Updated: 05/17/2012 4:44 pm

Hasmit Popat Kobe Bryant Mask

When it was revealed that a charitable bidder paid $67,100 for Kobe Bryant’s sweaty face mask, even the most diehard of fans had to wonder, who would fork over that much cash for a piece of plastic?

The mystery was solved earlier this week when businessman –- and serious Bryant supporter –- Hasmit Popat came forward.

The Florida and Texas resident told ESPN that the mask Bryant wore after breaking his nose “represents a part of NBA history.” Plus, he was excited that the proceeds of his purchase would support the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which helps homeless youth in Los Angeles.

“It’s a very good cause,” Popat told the news source. “I believe in his charitable event for homeless people in Los Angeles.”

It's a cause to which Bryant says he feels connected.

When Bryant learned that between 7,000 and 10,000 of L.A.'s homeless are under the age of 24, he said at a press conference that the figure "shocked the hell out of me.” As a father of two, he said it just "hits home more."

The pair started the foundation in 2011, and partner with several Los Angeles organizations to empower young homeless people. The charity also funds after-school programs, and has a scholarship program that introduces young people to Chinese culture, according to the nonprofit’s website.

And while Popat's donation will certainly help fight youth homelessness, it may even do more than that. The businessman told ESPN that he plans on reselling the mask at some point, and will donate those proceeds to charity as well.

“In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy it,” Popat told ESPN. “My purpose was to give something back and also have a piece of NBA history.”

To learn more about the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation, click here.


Check out photos of Kobe in his "sweaty" mask below.

SLIDESHOW:

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  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant adjusts his protective mask during their NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Los Angeles. Bryant broke his nose during the All-Star Game. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant adjusts his protective mask prior to the Lakers' NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant adjusts his protective mask prior to their NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant adjusts his protective mask during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings, Friday, March 2, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, adjusts his protective mask as he talks to head coach Mike Brown during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Sunday, March 4, 2012, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 93-83. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) removes his face mask in the final seconds of their NBA baskeball game against the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. The Wizards won 106-101. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant complains to the referee about having his face mask pulled in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics, Sunday, March 11, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)

  • Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard (24) adjust his face mask after a timeout in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Hornets in New Orleans, Wednesday, March 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

  • Photo courtesy of Ebay.

  • Photo courtesy of Ebay.

  • Photo courtesy of Ebay.

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Filed by Emily Heinz  |