A jersey worn by the legendary Michael Jordan during the first game of the 1998 NBA Finals, in which he won his last ring with the Chicago Bulls, was sold on Thursday, September 15 for a record $10.1 million, announced Sotheby’s.
The sale of the iconic red Bulls uniform, with the number 23 and Jordan’s name on the back, exceeded that of any sports piece worn in a game, the New York auction house said.
The sale surpassed the almost $9.3 million offered in May for the shirt of Argentine star Diego Armando Maradona that he wore on the day of his two legendary goals against England in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
In the case of Jordan’s uniform, which received a total of 20 bids, the final sum was double the highest estimate Sotheby’s had made.
The previous record for a basketball jersey was held by an autographed Kobe Bryant jersey he wore with the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996-97 season that sold for $3.7 million.
Jordan, now 59, is only the second jersey worn by the star during his six championship games with the Bulls, won between 1991 and 1993 and between 1996 and 1998, to be sold at auction.
It is also the most expensive Jordan sports memorabilia ever auctioned. The previous record was held by an autographed card from the 1997-98 season sold for $2.7 million.
Most of Jordan’s NBA Finals jerseys remain in private hands, according to Sotheby’s. One of them was donated by the player to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Jordan, considered by many to be the best basketball player in history, played 13 seasons for the Bulls and, after retiring, concluded his career playing two seasons for the Washington Wizards (2001-03).
The experiences of Jordan’s last season with the Bulls were recounted in the successful documentary miniseries The Last Dance (The Last Dance), released in 2020.
Brahm Wachter, head of modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, said in a statement that the sale “cements Michael Jordan as the undisputed GOAT (abbreviations in English of ‘The Greatest of All Time’), proving that his name and his incomparable legacy are as relevant as they were almost 25 years ago”.
The jersey was first publicly displayed in Monterey, California before being shipped to New York, where fans were able to view it during the auction. on-line.
The New York auction house, owned since 2019 by Franco-Israeli telecommunications tycoon Patrick Drahi, had previously auctioned off a pair of Jordan sneakers for nearly $1.5 million.
The retired basketball star currently owns the Charlotte Hornets, a North Carolina state franchise where Jordan grew up, and, among other businesses, earns millions of dollars annually from the rights to Nike’s Air Jordan shoe brand.
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A Michael Jordan T-shirt for $10.1 million? Auction broke the record for sports pieces