A jersey worn by basketball icon Michael Jordan during the opening game of the 1998 NBA Finals has been sold for a record $10.1m (£8.8m).
This is the most a piece of sporting memorabilia has fetched in history. Auction house Sotheby’s says the item drew “palpable excitement” from sports fans and collectors.
It was reminiscent of a sporting season – chronicled in Netflix documentary The Last Dance – which saw Jordan winning his sixth and final NBA title.
On Thursday, Sotheby’s said Jordan’s Chicago Bulls jersey attracted a total of 20 bids.
Sotheby’s head of streetwear and modern collectables, Brahm Wachter, said bidders were “eager to own a rarefied piece of history”.
“Today’s record-breaking result… solidifies Michael Jordan as the undisputed G.O.A.T, proving his name and incomparable legacy is just as relevant as it was nearly 25 years ago,” Wachter said. G.O.A.T is an acronym for “greatest of all time”.
The jersey outstripped a previous record of $9.28m, paid for a shirt worn by football star Diego Maradona at the 1986 World Cup. It was auctioned with a June 1998 Sports Illustrated magazine, which features Jordan on the cover.
Jordan is seen by many as the best player in the history of basketball. He spent most of his career with the Chicago Bulls, became a global icon and helped raise the NBA’s profile around the world.
Although the Chicago Bulls lost the opening game of the NBA Finals against Utah Jazz, it won the next three games. Then Utah Jazz took the next game by two points.
In the sixth game, Jordan put the Bulls up 87-86 with just 5.2 seconds left on the clock, and secured his final NBA title. The comeback was cheered by basketball fans around the world.
Jordan had abruptly retired from basketball in October 1993, following the murder of his father in North Carolina. The star had won seven scoring titles and led the Chicago Bulls to three straight championships.
“I have always stressed… that when I lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it’s time to leave,” Jordan said. Jordan, who is now aged 59, hung up his boots for the final time in 2003.