NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s rookie jersey up for auction, likely to fetch $5 million: report
The jersey worn by former NBA champion Kobe Bryant during his rookie season will go up for sale in an online auction starting May 18. The shirt will be auctioned off by SCP Auctions in an online sale that will run until June 4. The jersey will be auctioned off to the highest bidder and is expected to fetch between $3 million and $5 million. Bryant donned the jersey in a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz in the 1996-97 season.
“We believe this could set a record for any basketball jersey,” David Kohler of SCP Auctions quoted The Associated Press as saying. According to Kohler, the seller approached him after learning that another Bryant jersey had sold for $3.69 million last year, the highest price ever paid for a basketball jersey. Kohler said the seller had owned the shirt for 25 years but now wanted to sell it, adding that the market for the late player’s memorabilia remained “very strong”.
As for the jersey that will be auctioned off later this month, it was worn by Bryant on April 13, 1997 and April 17, 1997, in regular season wins over Utah and Sacramento, respectively. Bryant wore the same No. 8 jersey against Utah in the Western Conference playoffs May 8-10. The Lakers won the first game but lost the second, and ultimately the series 4-1. The jersey’s authenticity has been verified by independent authenticators, who paired it with archival images and video, including a 1997 trading card.
The disappearance of Kobe
Demand for Kobe memorabilia has skyrocketed in the past two years since the former NBA champion was killed in a helicopter crash. Kobe, who was 41 at the time of his death, died after his helicopter crashed into the side of a mountain in Los Angeles. Kobe was traveling with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, to a basketball game at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. The incident sent shockwaves around the world, prompting people to send tributes to Kobe and his daughter, as well as condolences to the bereaved family.