The only known Kobe Bryant game-worn jersey photo matched to his 1996-97 rookie season playoff run will make its debut on the auction market next month. SCP Auctions, which received the gold Los Angeles Lakers jersey on consignment, believes it could sell for $3-$5 million.
The jersey’s existence is a bit of a revelation, with the owner opting to bring it to market for the first time after seeing another Bryant rookie jersey sell for $3.69 million.
Kohler owns the world’s most extensive collection of Lakers memorabilia and felt confident after doing some preliminary research that the jersey was game-used and from the earliest stages of the late superstar’s career. The company then turned it over to three different photo matching service providers–MeiGray , Resolution Photomatching and Sports Investors–all of whom gave it a thumbs up.
The jersey has been matched to photos of Bryant wearing it in game action on four different dates in April and May of 1997. Kohler says unique mesh holes lined up with stitching and loose threads on a part of the jersey can be seen in photos of Bryant wearing it.
The jersey can be matched to Games 3 and 4 of the Lakers’ Western Conference Semifinal with the Utah Jazz. In Game 3, Bryant scored 19 points in a 104-84 Lakers victory. In Game 4, the 18-year-old guard led all bench players with 9 points in a 110-95 defeat. Game 4 was also the final time he put on a home Lakers jersey in 1997, making this jersey the final gold threads worn by Bryant his rookie year.
The jersey was also matched to regular season games on April 13 and 17, during a pair of wins over Utah and Sacramento.
Bryant is also seen wearing the same jersey in a photo on the back of his 1997 Skybox Z-Force trading card.
“We are honored and thrilled to handle this ‘holy grail’ of Kobe Bryant memorabilia and believe this could set a record for a game worn basketball jersey,” Kohler stated.
Bidding in SCP’s 2022 Spring Premier begins May 18 and concludes June 4.