true crime

‘I can’t stop thinking about it.’ The dark reason a basketball card from the 90s is going viral.

At first it looks like any other collectable NBA basketball card from the 90s. But on closer inspection this card depicting point guard Mark Jackson features a creepy nod to a horrific crime that stunned America at the time.

The card has been going viral since a Reddit user made the gruesome discovery about his old 1990-1991 Hoops basketball card and shared it on the site earlier this month.

Because sitting in the front row appears to be Erik and Lyle Menendez – the two young men later convicted of brutally murdering their parents.

The case intrigued the US and the world as many believed the wealthy 18 and 21-year-old killed their parents in August 1989 for money. Even after a second, far more harrowing motivation was uncovered during their trials, the brothers are more often remembered as cold-blooded killers driven by greed.

The family – entertainment executive Jose Menendez, former beauty queen Kitty and their two college-aged sons – lived in a Beverly Hills mansion. It was where Lyle and Erik shot their parents repeatedly one evening in an attempt to make the slaying look like a mob hit.

And it convinced the police entirely. The boys didn’t become suspects for months after their parent’s deaths – in which time they had spent about $1 million of their inheritance on cars, watches and even a restaurant.

The brothers were only arrested and charged with murder after Erik confessed to a psychologist, whose mistress overheard and told police following their break-up.

ADVERTISEMENT

They were arrested in March 1990 – making the timing of the basketball card, taken during the 1989 season, match up.

The young men were first tried separately in 1993, but when the juries couldn’t reach conclusions, they were tried together. In 1996, Erik and Lyle Menendez were found guilty and sentenced to life in jail without parole.

lyle-and-eric-menendez
Lyle and Erik Menendez during their trial. Image: Getty

The prosecution had claimed the men killed their parents so they could inherit their US$14.5 million estate (which factoring in inflation would be worth almost double).

But Erik and Lyle's defence told the court that the boys had been subject to years of psychological, physical and sexual abuse from their father, including rape.

Older brother Lyle has said in later interviews that he couldn't forgive his mother for knowing about the abuse, which the brothers said started when they were aged just six and eight years old, and doing nothing about it.

Many people with the card featuring their faces in the background have begun selling their collectables online, seeing them jump in value in the past few weeks.

But according to US sports business reporter Darren Rovell, eBay has told sellers it's removing their posts because they are "affiliated with a known murderer", breaching one of the site's terms.

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???