A jersey worn by Kobe Bryant during his lone MVP season sold for $5.8 million Thursday, the highest price ever paid for a publicly sold piece of memorabilia featuring the late NBA icon.
The jersey was sold in a live auction conducted by Sotheby’s in New York.
Worn in 25 games over the course of the 2007-2008 NBA season , it’s now the second most expensive basketball jersey ever sold.
The result achieved for the Kobe Bryant jersey also comes just two weeks after Sotheby’s sale of LeBron James’ jersey from Miami’s NBA Finals Game 7 victory in 2013 which earned $3.6 million – setting a new record for a one of the 38-year-old star’s jerseys sold at auction.
“”This jersey is iconic in a way we seldom see in sports artifacts,” stated Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables. “The image of Kobe wearing this particular jersey during the NBA playoffs has permeated in popular culture, reprinted on murals, books, newspapers and more, and has become a symbol of his fierce determination and passion that has resonated with audiences across the world.”
The previous record for any Bryant item was a game-worn and autographed basketball jersey from his 1996-97 rookie season, which sold to billionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist Bob Duggan for nearly $3.7 million in 2021.
Prices for game-worn gear–especially those worn by sports’ biggest icons–have exploded. Just seven years ago, the auction for Bryant’s last All-Star Game jersey barely fetched $100,000.
With the newest sale, Sotheby’s now officially holds the top three prices of game-worn sports memorabilia ever sold at auction, including the top price of $10.1 million for a jersey worn by Michael Jordan in the 1998 NBA Finals and the $9.3 million Diego Maradona jersey, worn when the soccer superstar scored the two most famous goals of his career.
The Bryant jersey was the star attraction in Sotheby’s ‘ZENITH’ sales, a two-part curated auction with items from a variety of athletes “whose careers have reached unparalleled success,” according to the auction house.