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A Michael Jordan jersey is sold for over $10 million, setting a new record

A jersey worn by Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA championships has sold at auction for $10.1 million.
A jersey worn by Michael Jordan during the 1998 NBA championships has sold at auction for $10.1 million.

A jersey worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan has been sold for $10.1 million — becoming the most expensive piece of game-worn sports memorabilia ever bought at an auction.

The item was sold on Thursday at Sotheby's "INVICTUS" a two-part auction of sports artifacts. The bright red shirt with the words, "Bulls 23," amassed 20 bids, Sotheby's told NPR.

Jordan wore the jersey during Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals. His team, the Chicago Bulls, would go on to win the championship series against the Utah Jazz.

The season is widely known as Jordan's "Last Dance" because it concluded a historic run of wins for the Bulls in the 1990s, which included six NBA championships. Jordan went on to temporary retire in 1999. In 2001, he returned to play for another two years. Jordan officially retired in 2003 at age 40.

The jersey toppled the previous record for game-worn collectibles — a jersey worn by the late soccer player Diego Maradona during the 1986 World Cup sold for $9.28 million.

A 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle baseball card still holds the title for generally the most valuable piece of sports memorabilia sold at an auction, with a price tag of $12.6 million.

The jersey is also considered the most valuable Jordan-relate item ever sold at an auction. In 2021, a pair of sneakers he wore during his first season with the Bulls was sold for nearly $1.5 million.

Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectables, told NPR that Jordan's jersey stirred excitement from both sports fans and avid collectors.

He said the "record-breaking result, with an astounding 20 bids, solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed GOAT, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago."

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.