Sotheby’s auction house announced Thursday that it expects to raise at least $5 million from the sale of an NBA legend Kobe Bryant jersey. The price, which could reach up to 7 million at auction, would exceed the record of 3.7 million dollars that was paid in 2021 for another shirt of the former Los Angeles Lakers player, who died in a plane crash in 2020. The shirt yellow and purple with Bryant’s number 24, which is sold by an anonymous owner, was worn by the player in 25 games in 2008, the year in which he was named the best player of the regular season.
Kobe Bryant also wore this jersey on April 23 of that same year, when he was photographed after hitting a three-pointer against the Denver Nuggets, clutching his jersey and celebrating the victory. This image was reproduced on the streets of many cities by graffiti artists, particularly in Los Angeles. The last time this garment was sold at auction was in 2013 for $18,678. According to Sotheby’s, the context was different since then “it was unknown that the player had worn the same shirt in so many games” or that it was the same “that gave rise to the iconic image that the public will remember after Kobe’s tragic death.” .
The jersey of the five-time NBA winner and two-time Olympic gold medalist would rank among the most expensive sports collectibles in history. However, the record in a market that increasingly attracts wealthy collectors and investors from around the world, is held by a jersey of another basketball legend, Michael Jordan. The ’23’ worn by the Chicago Bulls star when he reached the NBA title in 1998 was sold for $10.1 million in September 2022. It is followed by a Diego Armando Maradona jersey with the Argentine team during the Copa of the World of 1986, for which 9.3 million dollars were paid in May 2022.
New York will host Bryant’s coveted jersey, which will be on display from February 1 and is part of Sotheby’s online sporting collectibles auction from February 2-9.
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