A prestigious jersey worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan during the opening game of the 1998 NBA final has sold for a record-breaking $10.1m (£8.86m) at auction. The Chicago Bulls vest was famously worn during the game season known as The Last Dance, with Jordan winning his sixth and final NBA title. It became the most expensive piece of sports-wearing sports memorabilia in history – eclipsed by Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” shirt paid £7m for the 1986 World Cup win.
The red and black jersey, embellished with the number 23, is also Michael Jordan’s most valuable item sold at auction. It’s also the best-selling baseball jersey — meaning the former professional basketball ace has broken three new world records without stepping on the court.
The Nike Mesh vest was listed on New York auctioneer Sotheby’s website as “in excellent condition, in line with us.”The winning bid was more than double the estimate of $3m (£2.6m) to $5m (£4.4m). The jersey was accompanied by a certificate of authenticity and a matching photograph with a copy of Sports Illustrated, published in June 1998, showing the jersey on the front cover.
Sotheby’s website also shows a lot of earlier, a pair of Nike Air Jordan 9 “player sample” baseball cleats that received more than $44,000 (£38,636) at auction yesterday. Portrait of Jordan during the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 1997: AP Portrait of Jordan during the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah in June 1997: APAfter three consecutive NBA championships, months after shocking the basketball community by announcing his retirement from the sport on October 6, 1993, 13.5 black-and-white shoe sizes were cut to Jordan’s specifications in 1994.
He threw a curve ball to fans after announcing his intention to change the game, beginning a brief stint as a professional baseball player. But the athlete returned to the NBA and Chicago Bulls in 1995 — just nine days after retiring from baseball.
In 1999, he retired from basketball for the second time, insisting he was “99.9% certain” that he would not return. Michael Jordan’s vest is the most valuable item sold at auction but two years later in 2001, Jordan returned to the basketball court again, retiring for the third and final time in 2003.
Another pair of Nike airship trainers, worn during Jordan’s fifth NBA game on 1 November 1984, sold for about $1.5m (£1.3m) in October last year. Brahms Vacher, head of streetwear at Sotheby’s, said the sale “reinforces Michael Jordan as undeniably a goat, his name and unique heritage relevant almost 25 years ago.” ”Jordan, now 59, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2009.