Michael Jordan's Game-Worn Jersey from 'Last Dance' Season Sells for Record $10.1M

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 15, 2022

Michael Jordans game-worn 1998 NBA Finals The Last Dance jersey, from game 1, is displayed during Sothebys Invictus sales, in New York City on September 6, 2022. - The iconic red Chicago Bulls jersey, with Jordan's number 23 on the back, is only the second worn by the star during his six championships to be sold at auction. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP) (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Owning a piece of Michael Jordan's Last Dance season is far from a cheap endeavor.

Dan Hajducky of ESPN reported a Chicago Bulls jersey that His Airness wore during Game 1 of the 1998 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz sold for a record $10.09 million with the auction house Sotheby's.

Diego Maradona's "Hand of God" jersey from the 1986 World Cup set the previous record for the most expensive piece of sports memorabilia sold at $9.28 million, but the record now belongs to this jersey.

It joins a 1952 Topps Mickey Mantle card that sold in August for $12.6 million as the only sports collectible pieces to sell for more than $10 million.

The 1997-98 season for the Chicago Bulls was already one of the most famous in NBA history before ESPN chronicled it in its The Last Dance documentary. It was the end of an era for the organization that won six championships in eight years, as Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman all went elsewhere, with No. 23 going into temporary retirement.

Head coach Phil Jackson's time with the team also ended after that season.

Chicago defeated the Jazz in six games in the 1998 NBA Finals, with Jordan taking over the final minute of the decisive game with a steal against Karl Malone and an iconic jump shot over Bryon Russell to put his side ahead.

Jordan won his sixth championship and sixth NBA Finals MVP while averaging 33.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game.

"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 and modern collectables, said. "Finals jerseys from Jordan are remarkably scant and the [1998] Finals are arguably the most coveted of them all."

While Jordan came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards, the 1998 NBA Finals was the proverbial ending for arguably the greatest career in NBA history.

It is no wonder, then, that a jersey from that series sold for so much.