The jersey was reportedly the one he wore when he made his first appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which introduced him to the world as "The Chosen One":
According to Goldin Auctions, it is believed that James wore the jersey both for the SI photoshoot and for a February 3, 2002, contest against the Archbishop Hoban Knights (Akron, Ohio). James, then a 17-year-old junior, led the Fighting Irish to a 74-49 victory over the Knights in the contest while recording 32 points and seven rebounds.
James would go on to be taken No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers just more than one year later in the 2003 NBA draft. He has put together one of the greatest careers in NBA history through his first 16 seasons:
- Four-time NBA MVP
- Fifteen-time All-Star
- Three-time NBA champion
- Three-time NBA Finals MVP
- Eight consecutive trips to the NBA Finals (2011-18)
- No. 4 on NBA's all-time scoring list (32,543)
And he's still only 34 years old.
When it was first revealed that the jersey would be put up for auction, Ken Goldin told TMZ Sports that the classic could fetch something in the "mid-six figures." Though it ultimately fell short of the lofty expectations, Rovell noted it will go down as the highest-priced James jersey ever.