Jordan Jersey Sells for Over $10 Million in Sotheby’s Sale

Posted on 9/16/2022

The record-shattering lot included a CGC-certified Sports Illustrated that shows the Bulls Hall of Famer wearing the jersey.

A jersey worn by Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA Finals has sold for a record $10,091,000 in a September 2022 auction presented by Sotheby’s. A Sports Illustrated magazine graded by Certified Guaranty Company® (CGC®) showing Jordan wearing the jersey was included in the prestigious lot, which had a pre-auction estimate of $3 million to $5 million.

The 1998 NBA Finals stand as one of the most iconic in the history of the sport. They marked the sixth — and last — time that Jordan would lead his team to an NBA Championship, securing his sixth NBA Finals MVP and cementing his spot in the minds of many as the greatest to ever play the sport. This series was the most-watched Finals in the history of the NBA.

The CGC-certified Sports Illustrated and the Michael Jordan jersey, which together realized $10,091,000 as a single lot offered by Sotheby's.
Click images to enlarge.

The series kicked off in Utah with the Chicago Bulls cast as the underdogs — a role that was unusual for them. They took the court before a hostile Utah crowd in their away uniforms, which were red with black and white lettering. Despite Jordan’s game-leading 33 points, they lost the first game in overtime. Jordan and his teammates went on to win four of the next five games to take the series, his last with the Bulls.

The jersey from Game One of this series broke numerous records in the Sotheby’s sale on September 6, 2022. They include highest price paid for a basketball jersey at auction and highest price paid for any Jordan item. To put the $10 million figure in perspective, Jordan's salary for the entire 1997-98 season was $33 million.

The jersey in the sale was complemented by a copy of Sports Illustrated from June 15, 1998, that shows Jordan on the cover wearing it. CGC authenticated and graded the magazine CGC 8.0.

Very few items in the world of sports memorabilia rival the prestige of those associated with Jordan. Jerseys worn by Jordan during his Finals appearances are especially hard to come by. A Bulls home jersey that was worn by Jordan during the 1996 NBA Finals is part of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History collection.

Certified Sports Guaranty® (CSG®), an affiliate of CGC, recently recertified the authenticity and provenance of six pairs of sneakers worn by Jordan in each of the six games in which the Bulls clinched a championship. Formally known as the Dynasty Collection™, the sneakers were displayed by CSG in a once-in-a-lifetime exhibit at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, held July 27-31, 2022.

CSG offers grading services for sports cards, and is proud to have certified many valuable Jordan cards. Meanwhile, CGC offers grading services for Sports Illustrated and other magazine titles, in addition to being the world’s leading comic book certification company. The grading process for both companies involves a comprehensive inspection by industry-leading experts, who provide an unbiased opinion of authenticity and grade on a 10-point scale.

Interest is rising among sports collectors for CGC-certified copies of iconic Sports Illustrated magazines. A 1956 copy with Mickey Mantle on the cover graded CGC 9.0 realized $27,600 in a Heritage Auctions sale in August.

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