A jersey worn by the late great Kobe Bryant in his rookie season, possibly including playoff games against the Portland Trail Blazers, has sold at auction for $2.73 million.
The Los Angeles Lakers No. 8 jersey worn by Bryant sold Sunday through SCP Auctions. SCP Auctions said both the buyer and seller — who owned the jersey for 25 years — wished to remain anonymous.
According to David Kohler of SCP Auctions, the jersey’s authenticity was verified by independent authenticators who photo-matched it to five games during Bryant’s rookie season. Those games included three regular season contests in 1997 on April 11, April 13, and April 17 and two playoff games against the Utah Jazz in the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals on May 8 and May 10.
While the claim wasn’t conclusively verified by independent authenticators, according to the SCP Auctions site, “all information from our consignor points to the jersey also being worn by the Mamba during his playoff debut series against Portland in the first round that year.”
During that series, the No. 4 seed Lakers took down the No. 5 seed Blazers 3-1 in the best-of-five series. Bryant averaged 7.5 points per game coming off the bench, but came alive in Game 3, scoring 22 points on 7-13 shooting in a 98-90 loss at the Rose Garden.
Another of Bryant’s rookie jerseys — an autographed, yellow game-worn jersey — sold last year for $3.69 million. It was the highest price ever received for a basketball jersey.
In Bryant’s storied 20-season NBA career, he won five NBA Championships and was named to 18 NBA-All Star teams.
Bryant passed away on Jan. 26, 2020 in a California helicopter crash. The crash also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.