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Barron’s: Michael Jordan jersey from NBA Finals of his ‘magnum opus’ season to be auctioned in September

A jersey that Michael Jordan wore during a 1998 NBA Finals game in Utah will be auctioned by Sotheby’s online from Sept. 6-14. With a presale estimate of between $3 million and $5 million, it will be the most expensive price for a Jordan jersey, or any piece of Jordan memorabilia, the auction house said.

Jordan wore the red “away” jersey on June 3, 1998, an 88-85 loss to the Utah Jazz. Jordan played for 45 minutes in the game, the most minutes of any contest in the series —and sent the game to overtime, scoring 33 points.

The Bulls, led by Jordan, would go on to win their sixth NBA championship. The 1997-98 season has since been referred to as “The Last Dance,” and was the subject of a 2020 ESPN/Netflix
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documentary series of the same name.

From the archives (May 2020): Michael Jordan memorabilia explodes amid ‘Last Dance’ popularity

And (June 2020): Nike’s Jordan brand gets a boost from ESPN/Netflix doc ‘The Last Dance’

Plus (September 2020): DraftKings signs NBA legend Michael Jordan as investor and adviser

The jersey offered for sale was prominently shown throughout the Episode 10 of the series, and was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated on June 15, 1998, Sotheby’s said.

“The season itself is his ‘magnum opus’ as an athlete, and a testament to him as a champion and competitor,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear department, said in a statement. “Finals jerseys from Jordan are remarkably scant, and the 1997-1998 Finals are arguably the most coveted of them all.”  

“The Last Dance” series has helped fuel the auction market for Jordan memorabilia. In October 2021, a pair of Nike Air Ships sneakers worn by Jordan sold for a US$1.47 million at a Sotheby’s auction, a record price for a pair of Jordan sneakers. 

Also see: Michael Jordan likes to drink this ‘mellow’ tequila with an orange slice

And: Hoops legend Scottie Pippen is now making bourbon

The highest price paid for any piece of Jordan memorabilia is US$2.6 million for a rare trading card from 1997-98, which was sold through Goldin Auctions in October 2021.

Sneaker Con co-founder Yu-Ming Wu and Hayden Sharitt, a 21-year-old resale business owner, take us inside the industry where some sellers make millions of dollars on pre-owned shoes, as they attend a sneaker trading show in Cleveland. Photo/Illustration: Tyler Clark/Drew Evans

The most valuable jersey, or of any sport memorabilia at auction, is a shirt Diego Maradona’s wore in the 1986 World Cup, which fetched US$9.3 million in May at Sotheby’s London.  

From the archives (June 2020): Michael Jordan and many current NBA players express their anger and frustration over the death of George Floyd

The 1998 Jordan Finals jersey will be on public view in Monterey, Calif., from Aug. 17-20 to coincide with RM Sotheby’s flagship car auction. It will return to Sotheby’s New York for exhibition from Sept. 6-12.

From the archives (July 2021): You can rent Scottie Pippen’s Chicago-area home on Airbnb

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