Regardless of any off-field antics and tabloid headlines, Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens partook in throughout his career, nobody can deny his talent. This skill means Owens is the type of big-name athlete who can fetch a hefty price on sports memorabilia.
Owens, however, recently found himself in a situation where someone profited off of his property thanks to a storage unit mixup.
How did Terrell Owens lose his property?
Pro athletes of Owens’ status receive a lot of memorabilia, awards, equipment, and other sports-related items throughout their careers. These take up space, so they often rent a storage unit to house these things. Owens did just this with a unit in Spalding County, Georgia — although he didn’t get anything back.
The storage facility’s owners claimed Owens didn’t pay his dues on it, and anyone who pays attention to reality TV knows this means an auction will occur. Storage auctions give people an experience that’s part-garage-sale and part-gamble, as they’re not allowed to look inside unless they win.
A man named Jim Rice purchased Owens’ unit. When he realized what he had, he knew the $4,000 investment was well worth the payout. For Owens, however, this entire ordeal came as a surprise.
Terrell Owens’ response
According to Owens, he reached out to the owners of the storage unit through his people months before the auction. He was under the impression that it was sold and empty. In September 2019, Owens sued Atlanta Peach Movers Inc. for not only the financial damage but for the emotional trauma that came with it.
Although the storage unit was filled with memorabilia from his career, it also had copies of playbooks, signed non-disclosure agreements, and other items that held meaning to him past monetary value.
Still an ongoing matter, the lawsuit is worth $1 million, reports 11 Alive. As far as what was inside the storage unit, however, Jim Rice, the man who purchased the unit, has given people an inside look.
What was inside Owens’ storage unit?
Some of the items found inside Owens’ unit were the types one expects to find, according to AJC. These included helmets that not only had his autographs on them but autographs he’d collected from other players, like former members of the San Francisco 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The non-disclosure agreement that was found is standard procedure for party-goers at a wealthy person’s house as a way to avoid unnecessary legal recourse if anything gets out of hand. Other items, like sports coats, were more than likely pieces from Owens’ closet he was going to get back later. The playbooks seemed to be from his time with the 49ers.
One of the stranger things inside Owens’ storage unit was a bust depicting the receiver shirtless from the waist up. It was a fascinating look into Owens’ life and career, and it could give Rice a healthy profit if he’s allowed to keep it.
What comes next for Terrell Owens?
Rice told TMZ that he’s open to returning the property he hasn’t sold to Owens. Although memorabilia can be hard to gauge, at just $4,000 out-of-pocket, it’s hard to see Rice not making money. The autographs alone could beat that cost, and collectors of football memorabilia may clamor over game-used books and equipment.
Whether or not all of this is worth the price of the lawsuit remains to be seen. But Owens serves a cautionary tale of what can happen when an athlete loses track of his property.