Tennis (and, perhaps, dental) enthusiasts are in for a treat next week when the estate of legendary sportsman Arthur Ashe goes on sale.
The auction, which is scheduled to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Ashe's death, is said to include a range of items from his personal diaries to his wisdom teeth, along with hundreds of prized trophies, such as those from Ashe's wins at Wimbledon, the US Open, the Davis Cup and his college years at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
"As the first African-American to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open, he rose to the very pinnacle of success in tennis and, in the process, willingly became ambassador to the next generation of black athletes," Nate D. Sanders, whose firm is handling the auction, told The Age. "Arthur Ashe's life and career is really about the highest highs and lowest lows," he added, referencing Ashe's outstanding career in tennis and his life, which was shortened by a battle with heart disease that ultimately resulted in a blood transfusion from which Ashe contracted HIV.
In his February 8, 2003 obituary, The New York Times' Robin Finn wrote:
Since he believed his singular success carried inherent responsibilities, Ashe, during his decadelong professional tennis career and beyond it, dedicated himself to dismantling the barriers of poverty, privilege, racism and social stereotyping. Even the fact of his own mortality became a cause celebre, and Ashe, in the headlines again, conducted his final campaign against the ravages of AIDS.
Other items up for auction include Ashe's 1970s passport, containing a historic entry stamp to play in apartheid South Africa; and handwritten copies of his speeches on black athleticism, civil rights and AIDS.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale will be donated to the Arthur Ashe Learning Center, a non-profit group that promotes the tennis star's legacy of scholarship, sport, health and service.