Gakona's Kenny Sailors on Rare Card

Caleb Johns holds a 1948 sports card of Gakona's Ken Sailors. Sailors was the top basketball player of his day, and later worked with local Copper River kids, helping them win. One of the boys on his team was Ken Johns, Caleb's dad. With Caleb are Rico and Andrew Johns.

from the Copper River Country Journal March 3rd, 1994

Copper Center - It took a while, but Ken Johns of Copper Center has added his most valuable sports card to his extensive 20,000 card collection. It's a mint condition 1948 Bowman Gum Co. card of 27-year old Kenny Sailors - a forward on the Providence Steamrollers.

Kenny Sailors was the Larry Bird of his day. He was a Boston Celtic Globetrotter. He invented the one-handed jump shot. He led his team at Madison Square Garden - and was honored as one of the top 10 players to play there between 1933 and 1943. He won the Chuck Taylor Award for best basketball player in America. He won the Helms Award. He won the Most Valuable Player on the All-America Team award. And he won the Sullivan award.

Many years later, he was coach at Glennallen High School - leading the Glennallen girls to the state championships and the Glennallen boys to regional championships. Ken Johns was a student at Glennallen, and is proud he had Ken Sailors as his coach 20 years ago.

It's because he admires him that he tracked down the Sailors card. Ken Johns remembers that when Coach Sailors taught him, he was modest about his past. "I really didn't know too much about his (professional) background until later on, after I graduated," Ken Johns says now.

Ken Johns won't say how much the card cost. But he says he's already had offers for it.