A living legend if there ever was one, NBA superstar LeBron James easily ranks amongst the best basketball players of all time. For savvy collectors and resellers, that makes LeBron James memorabilia a fairly sound investment moving forward. Hence, it’s not entirely a surprise that one of his former jerseys fetched a lofty price of USD$3.68 million (AUD$5.637 million) at a Sotheby’s auction last month, making it the third-most valuable NBA jersey ever sold and the highest-selling LeBron James jersey to date. Score!
For all the basketball fans out there, the 2013 NBA Championship series was truly one to remember. After leading the Miami Heat to their best season in franchise history, LeBron James continued to dominate through the playoffs up to the finals against the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat were down for the count by Game 6 until a late-stage rally and crucial buzzer shot by Ray Allen flipped the tables and paved the way for victory. King James was named NBA Finals MVP but he also had vital help from talented teammates such as Allen and Dwyane Wade.
LeBron was already an NBA champion and Finals MVP before his showdown against the Spurs, but many say it was the 2012-2013 season that ascended him to the ranks of all-time great (you can argue amongst yourselves as to who was the GOAT). During Game 7 of the Finals, he famously achieved a double-double by nabbing 37 points and 12 rebounds, breaking an NBA Finals Game 7 scoring record in the process. It was the #6 jersey he wore during the first half of this very same game that sold at auction in January of 2023, fetching an impressive USD$3.68 million.
Crafted by Adidas from high-quality mesh, the LeBron James jersey appeared to be in nice overall condition—all things considered—by the time it hit the auction block. It went on to become the highest-selling LeBron James jersey to date. It’s also the third-most-valuable game-worn NBA jersey ever sold, falling behind Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey (which sold for USD$10.1 million), and the jersey worn by Kobe Bryant during his 2007 MVP season with the Lakers (which sold for USD$5.8 million).
Athletic jerseys respectively worn by baseball player Babe Ruth and Argentine football players Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi have likewise fetched millions of dollars at auction.
Despite these historic auction prices, athletic jerseys usually play second fiddle to sports cards in terms of breaking the million-dollar threshold. But if you’re going to drop over $3 million on an NBA jersey, one worn by King James in his prime certainly makes for a wise choice.
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