Editor’s Note: This story was updated with the final sale price and other details following the auction
The eight-figure sum was more than double initial estimates, setting a new auction record for a piece of game-worn sports memorabilia, according to Sotheby’s, which organized the sale.
Jordan wore the Chicago Bulls jersey in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, and it will be one of only two of his jerseys worn in a finals game to ever appear at auction, according to Sotheby’s.
The Bulls went on to win the championship despite major internal divisions that had affected their season, with Jordan gaining his sixth NBA winners ring.
It is one of only two of his jerseys worn in a finals game to ever appear at auction, said Sotheby’s, which billed it as “one of the most significant items from Michael Jordan’s career.”
The auction house bills it as “one of the most significant items from Michael Jordan’s career.”
Prior to the sale, Wachter had called the 1997-1998 season “perhaps one of the most popular among Jordan fans, as Michael was reaching the height of his abilities while simultaneously pursuing what he understood would be his last chance at an NBA Championship with the Chicago Bulls.”
“The season itself is his ‘magnum opus’ as an athlete, and a testament to him as a champion and competitor. Finals jerseys from Jordan are remarkably scant, and the 1997-1998 Finals are arguably the most coveted of them all,” he added.
The pre-sale estimate of $3 million to $5 million was the highest ever for a Jordan jersey, or any piece of Jordan memorabilia, the auction house had said.
The $10.1 million sale price realized on Thursday means it is now the most expensive basketball jersey ever to sell at auction, far surpassing the $3.7 million paid for one of Kobe Bryant’s last year. The item also broke the game-worn sports memorabilia record held by Argentinian soccer legend Diego Maradona’s shirt from the 1986 World Cup quarterfinal against England, said Sotheby’s. The blue soccer jersey was sold to an anonymous buyer for $9.3 million earlier this year.
In October 2021, a pair of Nike Air Ships sneakers, worn by Jordan, sold for $1.47 million at auction. The basketball star wore the red and white sneakers during his fifth NBA game in his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls on November 1, 1984.
The shoes set a world record for the highest price achieved for a pair of sneakers at auction, according to Sotheby’s. They also became the first pair of sneakers to sell for more than $1 million at auction.