Basketball jersey worn by Michael Jordan sells for record-breaking $10.1m

The iconic jersey worn by basketball legend Michael Jordan during the opening match of the 1998 NBA finals has sold at auction for a record-breaking $10.1m (£8.86m).

The Chicago Bulls vest was famously worn during a sporting season dubbed The Last Dance, which saw Jordan win his sixth and final NBA title.

It has become the most expensive piece of game-worn sports memorabilia in history – eclipsing the £7m paid for Diego Maradona “Hand of God” shirt worn during the 1986 World Cup.

The red and black jersey, emblazoned with the number 23, is also the most valuable Michael Jordan item ever sold at auction.

It is also the highest-selling baseball jersey – meaning the former professional basketball ace has broken three new world records without setting foot on the court.

The Nike mesh vest was listed on New York auctioneer Sotheby’s website as being in “excellent condition, consistent with use”.

The winning bid was more than double the estimate of $3m (£2.6m) to $5m (£4.4m).

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The jersey was accompanied by a photo matching the certificate of authenticity and a copy of Sports Illustrated published in June 1998, which showcases the jersey on the front cover.

The Sotheby’s website also shows a previous lot, a pair of Nike Air Jordan 9 “Player Sample” Baseball cleats which fetched more than $44,000 (£38,636) at auction yesterday.

Jordan pictured during the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 1997 Pic: AP
Jordan pictured during the NBA Finals in Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 1997 Pic: AP

The size 13.5 black and white boots were cut to Jordan’s specifications in 1994, months after he shocked the basketball community by announcing his retirement from the sport after three consecutive NBA Championships on 6 October 1993.

He threw fans a curve ball after revealing his intention to switch sports, embarking on a brief stint as a professional baseball player.

But the athlete returned to the NBA and Chicago Bulls in 1995 – just nine days after retiring from baseball.

In 1999, he bowed out of basketball for a second time, insisting he was “99.9% certain” he would not return.

The vest
The vest is the most valuable Michael Jordan item ever sold at auction

But two years later in 2001, Jordan returned to the basketball court again, retiring for the third and final time in 2003.

Another pair of Nike Air Ship trainers, worn during Jordan’s fifth NBA game on 1 November 1984, sold for almost $1.5m (£1.3m) in October last year.

Head of Streetwear at Sotheby’s Brahm Wachter, said the sale “solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed GOAT, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago.”

Jordan, now 59, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September 2009.

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