A jersey worn by Kobe Bryant during his 1996-1997 Rookie season, including two playoff games, is set to be sold at auction. Projections expect the artifact to fetch between $3 million and $5 million in an online auction beginning on May 18th, said David Kohler of the SCP Auctions on Saturday.
“We feel this could bring a record for any basketball jersey,” shared Kohler. The seller has requested to remain anonymous but claims to have had the jersey for 25 years.
Kohler was approached by the seller after they saw another one of Bryant’s rookie jerseys sell for $3.69 million last year. The autographed, yellow game-worn jersey fetched the highest price ever for a basketball jersey.
Notably, a Kobe Bryant trading card sold last year for $1.8 million.
The upcoming auction features the No. 8 jersey Bryant donned for the Los Angeles Lakers in regular season wins at the old Forum on April 13, 1997, against the Utah Jazz and also on April 17, 1997 against the Sacramento Kings. The same jersey was worn at home on May 8th and 10th in the Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz. Bryant scored 19 points in the first game when the Lakers won, and 9 points in the second game which they lost. The Lakers ultimately lost the series four games to one to conclude Bryant’s rookie year.
The game-worn jersey has been verified and authenticated by an independent group that was able to photo-match it, according to Kohler. This process involved examining unique characteristics and matching it to a 1997 trading card featuring Bryant wearing the jersey. Specifically, it features a logo representing the NBA’s 50th anniversary.
Two year after the tragic death of the legend, Bryant memorabilia remains “very, very strong.” “As Long as it’s the real stuff,” Kohler said. “He’s beloved.”
The jersey is available to be viewed by appointment only at SCP Auctions in Laguna Niguel. The auction ends on June 4th.