A new (and expensive) record has just been broken in the sports world. An iconic piece of NBA memorabilia — a Michael Jordan jersey — was recently purchased, outstripping a previously held record for the most money a piece of sports memorabilia was sold for. In the process, two other records were broken, which seems fitting for a jersey worn by the GOAT.
According to BBC News, auction house Sotheby's knew it would draw a crowd from collectors with a piece of sports history on the sale list. The Chicago Bulls jersey Michael Jordan wore during the opening game of the 1998 NBA finals drew "palpable excitement" with bidders eager to snatch up the iconic jersey, plus a copy of the June 1998 Sports Illustrated magazine featuring Jordan wearing the jersey on the cover.
To be clear, this was Jordan’s most recognizable “23” not “45.” Jordan’s first Bull’s number was 23 — but after a brief retirement in 1993, he returned to the NBA with the number 45. Then in 1995, he switched back to 23. So, his 1998 jersey is “23” and while it’s not the last jersey he ever wore, it’s by far the more iconic.
Dubbed the "Last Dance" jersey after the Netflix special chronicling Jordan’s sixth and final NBA title, the auction attracted a total of 20 bids. It also sold for far more than its estimated $3 million. It beat the previously held record of $9.28 million paid for a shirt worn by football star Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup. The previous record price for any NBA jersey was $3.69 million for a jersey worn by Kobe Bryant during his 1996-97 rookie season.
The Jordan jersey sold for $10.1 million, breaking three records, including the most ever paid for any game-worn sports memorabilia, the most paid for a basketball jersey at an auction, and the most ever paid for a Michael Jordan item.
"Today's record-breaking result... solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed G.O.A.T, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago," Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said.
The person who purchased the jersey hasn’t been announced, but that’s quite the piece of history to hang up in the man cave.