The Grateful Dead and the Lithuania national men’s basketball team were an unlikely pair.
But in 1992, the famous rock band helped sponsor the team in the Barcelona summer Olympics.
The country was celebrating its independence from the Soviet Union, but the team was broke, so the Dead stepped up to help — inspiring a tie-dyed T-shirt emblazoned with a skeleton slam-dunking the ball.
That iconic shirt is hard to find today, but one is hanging behind the cash register at The Lot, Legion of Thrift on 25th Street at the Oceanfront.
For a cool $300, it can be yours.
The Lot is part of a new specialty trend in thrifting with stores carrying rare and vintage clothing and accessories from the 1980s and 90s. A vintage NASCAR T-shirt costs about $25, while a 1991 T-shirt featuring rap band N.W.A. is priced at $600.
“The most sought-after in the community right now is rap,” said Justin Belue, 25, one of the four friends who own the store.
Belue previously owned Belueprint thrift store in Chesapeake’s South Norfolk neighborhood, but wanted to get in front of more eyes. The Lot opened in January in the resort area and is just starting to hit its stride. His goal is to host vintage meet-ups at the Oceanfront where multiple vendors from different states can sell their wares to a growing legion of fans.
“There’s a huge thrift community out here, and we want to try to help,” Belue said.
On a recent afternoon, several parents popped in to The Lot with their teenage children to look around.
Nathan Fury, 16, found a $20 Chevrolet racing shirt the first day he came in and returned to thumb through the racks again. Some of the NASCAR shirts at The Lot are uniquely printed and not mass produced, and they’re in good shape.
“It’s super cool how they look,” said Fury. “They’re all well-kept.”
Megan Wright, a mom who was shopping with her son, bought a $25 Def Leppard T-shirt. Wright had seen a similar one recently for $30 in a department store at the mall, but it wasn’t an original, she said.
That’s part of the motivation behind The Lot.
“We try not to charge too much because we want people to know you can get the real deal for less,” Belue said.
The store also features streetwear, or brand-oriented apparel. Earlier this week, Supreme shirts and a Billionaire Boys Club jacket, which is Pharrell Williams’ clothing line, hung on a rack near the front door.
Belue scours area thrift stores for rare pop culture apparel. He recently found a 1993 Marvel T-shirt for $1 that he’ll try to resell for $200. He will also buy vintage clothes, shoes and video games from individuals.
Ana Valdevino, 16, was visiting Virginia Beach from Massachusetts when she stopped in The Lot on Monday.
“I’m in love with this place,” Valdevino said, holding up a blue NFL football jersey she bought to go with a new skirt. “It’s going to match perfectly.”
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, email@example.com