According to Sotheby’s, the Chicago Bulls jersey Michael Jordan wore in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals sold for $10.1 million this week. The auction was held from September 6–14, and during that time, bids exceeded the initial estimate of $3–5 million by a significant margin.
The price of a game-used sports memorabilia has never been higher than with this jersey. It outperformed Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” World Cup jersey from 1986, which sold for $9.28 million in May.
This particular Jordan NBA Finals jersey, one of just two to be offered for sale, is a great reminder of the five-time MVP’s legendary “Last Dance” with the Bulls.
Jordan wore the jersey on June 3, 1998, when he scored 33 points in 45 minutes against the Utah Jazz, according to Sotheby’s. Despite the fact that the game went into overtime, the Bulls lost on the road 88-85. The Bulls won that championship after a six-game series, giving Jordan his sixth and last NBA championship ring. That year, he also won his sixth MVP award for the Finals.
According to Brahm Wachter, head of streetwear and modern collectibles at Sotheby’s, “the season itself is his’magnum opus’ as an athlete, and a testimony to him as a champion and contender,” a press statement from last month. “Jordan’s Finals jerseys are extraordinarily hard to come by, and the 1997–1998 Finals are probably the most sought–after of them all,” says the author.
The jersey was advertised as being “in outstanding condition consistent with use” on the auction page. It includes a graded copy of a June 1998 Sports Illustrated, which has Jordan wearing the jersey on the cover, and a photo-matching certificate from The MeiGray Group.
The summer has been a great one for sports memorabilia. The highest price ever paid for a piece of sports memorabilia was $12.6 million last month for a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card with an SGC grade of 9.5.