A jersey worn by Michael Jordan in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals sold for $10.1 million Thursday afternoon through Sotheby’s. The price is a record for any game-worn item and the second highest priced piece of sports memorabilia ever sold, behind only the recent $12.6 million sale of a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card graded SGC 9.5.
One of just two of Jordan’s Finals jerseys to ever appear at auction, the jersey had 20 bids, most coming in in the final moments of the sale and pushing the final price to more than double the $5 million high estimate.
The red jersey carries the NBA Finals patch and was worn during arguably the most celebrated season of Jordan’s legendary career. ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary put worldwide attention back on the season that marked the forced ending of a remarkable NBA dynasty thanks in large part to Jordan, who earned MVP honors in what became the Bulls’ sixth and final NBA title.
“In the weeks since we announced the auction, there’s been palpable excitement from not only sports fans, but collectors alike who are eager to own a rarified piece of history,” stated Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Head of Streetwear and Modern Collectables. “Yet again, today’s record-breaking result, with an astounding 20 bids, solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed GOAT, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago.”
Prior to Thursday, the previous record for a basketball jersey was for a game-worn and autographed Kobe Bryant jersey from 1996-97, which sold at Goldin Auctions for $3.7 million.
“An eight figure sale is going to shine a light on the game used industry and reveal to the mass public what collectors have known for a long time, that the game used segment is an undervalued market and underexposed market,” company founder Ken Goldin told SC Daily. “And high-quality items are not only difficult to find but a sellers market when they come up for sale.”
In June, another Bryant jersey, matched to some of his first NBA playoff games, netted over $2.7 million.
The Jordan jersey also broke the record for any game-worn item established earlier this year by Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ jersey, which sold for $9.3 million, also through New York-based Sotheby’s.