Kobe Bryant’s Game-Worn 2009 NBA Finals Jersey Sells For Staggering $1.75 Million

Kobe Bryant memorabilia continues to shatter the $1 million mark. A game-worn Los Angeles Lakers Bryant jersey from Game 1 of the 2009 NBA Finals sold for $1.75 million at Sotheby’s on Wednesday. The jersey was part of the Los Angeles Lakers | Capsule Collection.

In the 100-75 Game 1 win over the Orlando Magic, Bryant put up 40 points (the highest scoring performance of his career in the NBA Finals), eight rebounds and eight assists.

Kobe Bryant game-worn 2009 NBA Finals jersey from Game 1
Kobe Bryant game-worn 2009 NBA Finals jersey from Game 1. (credit: Sotheby’s)

The Lakers dispatched the Magic in five games, giving Bryant four NBA titles at the time. It was also his first championship without Shaquille O’Neal. Bryant would capture the NBA championship the following year in 2010, giving him five total for his Hall of Fame career.

The jersey was photo-matched by The MeiGray Group.

This was the fourth game-worn Bryant jersey that has reached seven figures. The others include:

  • Bryant’s autographed 1996-97 game-worn rookie No. 8 jersey selling for $3.69 million in May 2021
  • A separate Bryant game-worn rookie jersey (non-auto) selling for $2.73 million in June 2022
  • Signed Bryant 2007-08 game-worn jersey from MVP season fetching $5.84 million in February 2023

Other items that sold during Sotheby’s Los Angeles Lakers | Capsule Collection auction were a Bryant autographed basketball ($15,240), LeBron James game-worn Lakers jersey when he scored his 38,000th point ($393,700), and the game-used rim when James broke Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record ($152,400).

Late last month, Bryant’s championship ring he gifted to his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, sold for $927,200 at Goldin. Kobe Bryant ordered an extra copy of the 2000 Los Angeles Lakers championship ring for his dad. It was the first title he won.

The ring was shrouded in controversy as it was originally believed Bryant’s parents were selling the ring that was given to them by their son four years after his tragic death. However, Joe and Pamela Bryant previously sold the ring through Goldin in 2013 for approximately $173,000. The ring’s new owner decided to put up the rare item for auction.

The most expensive game-worn jersey belongs to Michael Jordan, whose 1998 NBA Finals Game 1 threads fetched $10.1 million at auction in September 2022.

Kobe’s Legendary Basketball Career

Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, left an indelible mark on the sport during his illustrious 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers. From the moment he was drafted straight out of high school in 1996, Bryant’s talent, work ethic, and competitive spirit were evident.

Bryant quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with, earning the nickname “Black Mamba” for his lightning-quick reflexes and deadly scoring ability. He formed a formidable partnership with Shaquille O’Neal, leading the Lakers to a historic three-peat, winning NBA Championships in 2000, 2001, and 2002.

After Shaq’s departure, Bryant stepped up as the Lakers’ undisputed leader, showcasing his incredible scoring prowess. He led the league in scoring twice (2006 and 2007) and became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 20,000 career points.

Bryant’s individual accolades are numerous. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star, a 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and a 12-time member of the All-Defensive Team. He won two Olympic gold medals with Team USA (2008 and 2012) and took home the NBA MVP Award in 2008.

However, it was his championship pedigree that truly set him apart. Bryant led the Lakers to two more titles in 2009 and 2010, earning Finals MVP honors on both occasions. His legendary performances, such as scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in 2006 and his 60-point farewell game in 2016, will forever be etched in basketball lore.

Off the court, Bryant was known for his philanthropic work and his dedication to mentoring the next generation of players. His “Mamba Mentality” philosophy, emphasizing relentless work ethic and mental toughness, inspired athletes across all sports.

Tragically, Bryant’s life was cut short in a helicopter crash in January 2020, which also claimed the lives of his daughter Gianna and seven others. The basketball world mourned the loss of an icon, but his legacy lives on through the countless players he inspired and the indelible mark he left on the game.

Bryant’s career was a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and an unwavering competitive spirit. He will forever be remembered as one of the greatest players to ever grace the hardwood.

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