NEW YORK: A jersey worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan during Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, his last title victory, sold for a record $10.1 million Thursday, Sotheby’s said.
The iconic red Chicago Bulls jersey, with Jordan’s number 23 on the back, went for the highest amount of any game-worn sports memorabilia ever, the auction house said, and set a new record for a basketball jersey at auction.
The final sum was twice Sotheby’s high estimate, and the jersey drew a total of 20 bids.
The Jordan swag beat a record set in May for the most expensive sports memorabilia ever sold, which had been Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey.
The previous record for a game-worn basketball jersey was for one autographed by Kobe Bryant, who wore it in 1996-97. That piece of NBA memorabilia went for $3.7 million, according to Sotheby’s.
The Jordan jersey is only the second worn by the star during his six championships to be sold at auction.
It is also the most expensive item of Michael Jordan sports memorabilia to be sold.
The previous record was for $2.7 million, notched by an autographed relic card from 1997-98.
‘The Last Dance’
Most of Jordan’s NBA Finals jerseys remain in private hands, according to Sotheby’s, although he has donated one to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Jordan, now 59, spent the bulk of his basketball career with the Bulls, with whom he won all six of his titles, but came out of retirement in 2001 to play two seasons with the Washington Wizards.
His final season with the Bulls was detailed in the hit ESPN/Netflix documentary “The Last Dance” released in 2020.
Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectables at Sotheby’s, said in a statement that the sale “solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed GOAT, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago.”
The jersey was first publicly displayed in Monterey, California before being shipped to New York, where fans could view it during the online auction.
The New York auction house, owned since 2019 by French-Israeli telecom magnate Patrick Drahi, previously sold a pair of Jordan’s sneakers for nearly $1.5 million.
The retired basketball star currently owns the Charlotte Hornets, located in his childhood home of North Carolina, and reportedly still earns millions in royalties each year from sales of Nike’s Air Jordan brand of sneakers.