The basketball legend Michael Jordan’s jersey from the opening game of the 1998 NBA Finals sold for $10.1 million, shattering the previous record for game-worn sports collectibles. Meanwhile, Diego Maradona’s shirt from the infamous “Hand of God” World Cup goal against England earlier this year went for $9.3 million at auction. However, the jersey surpasses an autographed card that went for $2.7 million to become the most expensive Jordan item ever to be sold. Although Sotheby’s had anticipated a winning bid of up to $5 million, the price doubled the prediction.
The iconic television series “The Last Dance” followed Jordan’s journey from wearing the jersey to winning his sixth NBA title with the Chicago Bulls. Furthermore, the 1998 NBA Finals were the most watched in history because people from all over the world tuned in to see the star’s final run alongside players like Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and Steve Kerr.
Meanwhile, despite Jordan scoring 33 points in the game that featured this $10.1 million jersey, the Bulls were defeated by the Utah Jazz. The Bulls wore their well-known red-away jerseys for the Utah matchup. In the end, the Jordan-led squad won the series 4-2, and Jordan won his sixth NBA Finals MVP award.
When Sotheby’s announced the sale of Jordan’s jersey on Thursday, they mentioned “a new generation of collectors.” The New York-based auction company has worked to modernize, offering NFT auctions in addition to tangible artifacts and even boasting its metaverse site.
“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,” the executive vice president of Sotheby’s, George Wachter, expressed. “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.”