Kobe Bryant’s game-worn rookie jersey could fetch up to $5 million at auction
Kobe Bryant’s rookie jersey from the 1996/7 season will be auctioned in California on 18 May. It is expected to reach a six-figure sum - between $3 million and $5 million.
A Los Angeles Lakers shirt which Kobe Bryant wore during his rookie season could set a new sports memorabilia record when it goes under the hammer later this month. The all-time record was set almost exactly 10 years ago - a game-worn Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey from 1920 fetched $4,415,658 in May 2012. The same auction house who handled that sale, SCP Auctions, believe that Kobe’s game-worn yellow No.8 Lakers jersey could fetch an even higher sum. Kobe wore the shirt during the 1996/7 season when he was just a promising 18-year-old barely out of high school. The jersey’s authenticity has been verified and photomatched by Mei Grey to the one which the No.13 Draft pick wore for regular season games against Utah Jazz in April 1997 as well as the Western Conference semi-finals against the same rivals the following month. Bryant scored 19 points in Game 3 and nine in Game 4. It was also matched to a photograph of Bryant wearing the jersey on a 1997 trading card. It features a logo representing the NBA’s 50th anniversary. Head of the 2006/7 season, he switched from the No.8 to his now iconic No.24 jersey.
Kobe Bryant rookie season shirt sets record at auction in May 2021
A similar, game-worn signed Kobe Bryant shirt from the same season was sold for $3,690,000 by Goldin Auctions of New Jersey last year - almost four times what the Lakers legend earned in his debut season. SCP Auctions president David Kohler of is confident that Kobe’s rookie shirt will command a much higher price. “We feel this could bring a record for any basketball jersey,” he told AFP. The seller, who wants to remain anonymous, has owned the shirt since 1997. The demand for Kobe Bryant-related memorabilia skyrocketed after his tragic death in January 2020. He was one of nine people onboard a Sikorsky S-76 helicopter flying from Orange County to Ventura County for a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy. Tragically, the helicopter crashed into a mountainside due to poor visibility - Kobe, 41 and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna perished in the accident.
Bryant is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all-time - another item which is expected to do well at auction is a 1997 Skybox Metal Universe PMG trading card, hand-signed by Kobe. The auction begins on 18 May and ends on 4 June. The jersey can be viewed by appointment only at SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel, Orange County, California