A jersey worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan in the first game of the 1998 NBA Finals has sold for $10.1 million, breaking the record for game-worn sports memorabilia.
The jersey is also the most expensive Jordan item ever sold, surpassing an autographed card that sold for $2.7 million. Sotheby’s had expected up to a $5 million winning bid, but 20 offers drove the price to double that estimate.
Jordan wore the jersey on the way to his sixth NBA championship with the Chicago Bulls, a journey chronicled in the popular TV series “The Last Dance.” At the time, the 1998 Finals were the most-watched in history, as viewers across the globe tuned in to see the star’s last run with the likes of Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Steve Kerr.
The Bulls lost the game that featured this $10.1 million jersey, falling to the Utah Jazz despite Jordan’s 33-point performance. The game was in Utah and the Bulls donned their iconic red away-game jerseys. The Jordan-led team ended up taking the series 4-2, and Jordan grabbed his sixth NBA Finals MVP.
Sotheby’s reported “a new generation of collectors” in announcing the sale of Jordan’s jersey on Thursday. In addition to physical collectibles, the New York-based auction house has pushed to modernize, auctioning NFTs and even boasting its own metaverse location.