When is a worn basketball jersey more than just a sweaty shirt? When it was worn by one of the sport’s most iconic athletes. A dedicated sports lover bought Michael Jordan’s jersey worn in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals for $10.1 million at a Sotheby’s auction on September 15. It was valuable not only because of Jordan’s career, but also because the jersey was worn during Jordan’s “Last Dance” season. Jordan was pictured wearing the jersey on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine following the NBA Finals, and a copy of the magazine was offered with the jersey.
The sale makes it the most expensive game-worn sports clothing collectible in history. Jordan was drafted by the NBA team Chicago Bulls in 1984. He took the team to the playoffs that first season. Jordan helped the Bulls win championship after championship. He retired in 1998. The sale crushed the previous record for a basketball jersey — $3.7 million spent in May on Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey worn in his rookie year. It also broke the record for any item of Michael Jordan sports memorabilia after his autographed relic card from 1997-1998 sold for $2.7 million.