Michael Jordan’s ‘Last Dance’ jersey fetches a record $10.1 million

Written by the author Jack Guy, CNN

Helpers Oscar Holland, CNN

This story was updated with the final sale price and other details after the auction

A jersey worn by basketball star Michael Jordan during one of the most famous seasons of his NBA career sold for a record $10.1 million at an auction in New York on Thursday.

The eight-figure sum was more than double the initial estimate, setting a new auction record for a piece of game-worn sports memorabilia, according to Sotheby’s, which organized the sale.

Jordan wore a Chicago Bulls jersey in Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals, appearing in a 2020 ESPN and Netflix documentary series of the same name known as “The Last Dance” at the end of the famous season. On June 3, 1998, Jordan wore a jersey against the Utah Jazz and scored 33 points in 45 minutes in a loss to the Bulls.

Despite major internal divisions that impacted the Bulls’ championship-winning season, Jordan won his sixth NBA championship ring.

Michael Jordan wears his 1998 NBA Finals jersey during a press preview at Sotheby’s on September 06, 2022. Credit: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

It is one of only two Finals game jerseys to be auctioned, which Sotheby’s said is “one of the most significant items in Michael Jordan’s career.”

In a statement, Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said the sale “solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed ACHUR (Greatest of All Time), proving his name and unique legacy are as relevant as they were nearly 25 years ago.”

Prior to the sale, Wachter called the 1997–1998 season “perhaps one of Jordan’s most popular among fans, as Michael was reaching the peak of his abilities while also playing with what he understood would be his last chance at an NBA Championship. The Chicago Bulls.”

“The season itself is his ‘magnum opus’ as an athlete, and a testament to him as a champion and competitor,” he added in a press release. “Jordan’s semi-final jerseys are incredibly rare, and the 1997-1998 finals jerseys are arguably the most precious of them all.”

Michael Jordan with Scottie Pippen on the court during Game 1 against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

Michael Jordan with Scottie Pippen on the court during Game 1 against the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. Credit: John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

The presale estimate of $3 million to $5 million was the highest ever for a Jordan jersey or Jordan memorabilia, the auction house said.

Thursday’s sale price of $10.1 million means it is now the most expensive basketball jersey ever sold at auction, far surpassing the $3.7 million Kobe Bryant paid for one last year. The item also broke the record for most sporting memorabilia worn by Argentina soccer legend Diego Maradona’s shirt in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final against England, Sotheby’s said. 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 in the fifth NBA game of his season opener with the Chicago Bulls on November 1, 1984.

The shoes set a world record for the highest price ever fetched for a pair of sneakers at auction, according to Sotheby’s. It also became the first pair of sneakers to sell for over a million dollars at auction.