Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s Iconic LA Lakers Jersey Could Fetch $10 Million at Auction

Kobe Bryant was one of the most iconic basketball players of all time. His talent, leadership, and competitive spirit are still celebrated around the world today. In our office, for example, throwing a piece of paper in the trash without yelling “KOOOBEEE” is a fireable offence. Now, fans of the late NBA star have the chance to own a piece of his legacy as a Los Angeles Lakers jersey he wore during his only MVP season is being put up for auction at Sotheby’s. Estimated to sell between $5 million (AU$7.2 million) and $7 million (AU$10 million), it’s a small price to pay for a slice of the Mamba Mentality.

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Kobe Bryant Lakers Jersey Auction Sotheby's

Image: Sotheby’s

The jersey was worn by Bryant for an impressive 25 games spread throughout an 8-month period at the peak of his powers. In fact, it is the same one worn in the now-iconic photo in which he grabs the jersey and screams in excitement after securing a 14-point lead over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference first-round series. According to Sotheby’s, Bryant scored 645 points in those 25 games wearing the jersey, which is also signed by the late Lakers legend. During his MVP season, Bryant averaged 28.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game, leading the Lakers to the 2008 NBA Finals, where they lost to the Boston Celtics.

“This jersey has influenced popular culture in a way that is seldom seen in the sports community, becoming iconic and synonymous with the image of Kobe Bryant,” Sotheby’s said in a news release. “The raw passion captured in the photos has inspired artists and designers all over the world … this jersey has been featured in countless murals and artworks depicting the late basketball sensation.”

The jersey has become “synonymous with Kobe’s ‘Mamba Mentality,’ ” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectibles, said in the release. “The fact that Kobe scored a total of 645 points over 8 months in this jersey, in his only MVP season, is simply stunning.”

The current record for any item of Kobe Bryant sports memorabilia is a game-worn and autographed jersey from his 1996-97 rookie season. Since Bryant’s untimely death in a helicopter crash in January 2020, collectors have seen increasingly high prices for his memorabilia. If the jersey sells for the USD$5-$7 million price Sotheby’s is estimating, it would be the highest price ever paid for a Bryant jersey, the auction house said. The only other jersey valued so highly is Michael Jordan’s game-worn 1998 NBA finals “The Last Dance” jersey, which sold for USD$10.1 million (AU$14.5 million) at a Sotheby’s auction in September 2022.

The highest bidder will also receive a collection of photos, books and artwork with the jersey. Displayed at Sotheby’s New York, the lot will be open for bidding February 2-9.

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STAFF WRITER

Sam Mangioni

Sam Mangioni is an experienced Staff Writer with an extensive background in digital content production and news. Prior to working for Man of Many, Sam spent three years at Southern Cross Austereo where he served as a Content Producer and News Reporter for the flagship Triple M Breakfast Program. The Sydney-based reporter completed a Bachelor of Commerce from Macquarie University Majoring in Marketing in 2014. A specialist in sport, lifestyle and gear coverage, Sam's work has also featured in Fight News Australia.