Michael Jordan’s first-ever Chicago Bulls jersey is heading for sale at Goldin Auctions next month, as part of the Summer Premium auction which ends on August 10.
The jersey, featuring Jordan’s name and squad number, was the first presented to him when he signed for the Chicago Bulls in 1984.
The historic jersey is one of several Jordan items in the sale, along with other game-worn jerseys and sneakers, a signed basketball and a ticket stub from his NBA debut game.
Michael Jordan was snapped up by the Bulls as the third pick in the 1984 NBA Draft behind Akeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie, having become a star at college level at the University of North Carolina.
At the time he was training with the USA Men’s Olympic basketball team, prior to winning gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Games as they dominated the competition with an 8 – 0 record.
The jersey has been photo-matched to the press conference held on September 12, 1984, in which Jordan was presented to the world as the newest member of the Chicago Bulls’ roster.
Having signed on the dotted line, Bulls manager Rod Thorn handed Jordan this jersey to hold aloft, featuring his soon-to-be-iconic squad number ’23’.
Jordan’s seven-year, $6 million contract was the richest in the team’s history; but in hindsight, it became one of the biggest bargains in the history of U.S sports.
During two spells with the team he led them to six NBA championships, achieving 10 scoring titles, five MVP awards, and becoming a 14-time NBA All-Star.
Not only did Michael Jordan’s skills make him arguably the greatest player in basketball history, but he raised the profile of the entire sport, in the same manner that Babe Ruth forever changed the face of baseball.
Bidding on the jersey starts at just $15,000, but according to the Chicago Tribune, Goldin Auctions founder Ken Goldin has estimated the jersey could fetch between $400,000 and $500,000 due to its historic significance.
“Imagine if there was a press conference in 1919 after Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees, and the Yankees made up a jersey for him and you had a picture of Babe Ruth holding the jersey,” he told the paper.
“What would that would be worth today? That would be a $10 million jersey.”
Whether the jersey comes close to Goldin’s valuation remains to be seen, as other experts estimate it could fetch less than $100,000.
The highest prices for sports jerseys are usually reserved for those that are game-worn, and that can be attributed to significant moments in the player’s career.
The current auction record for a Michael Jordan Chicago Bulls jersey was set in 2017, when his game-worn USA jersey from the 1984 Olympics sold at Grey Flannel Auctions sold for $274,000, making it the most expensive basketball jersey of all-time.
There’s no evidence Jordan ever even wore the jersey on offer – but because his signing for the Chicago Bulls marks a watershed moment in U.S sports, its historic significance could yet be enough to spark a six-figure bidding war.