The iconic photo of Bryant grabbing his jersey after taking a 14-point lead over the Denver Nuggets in the 2008 NBA Playoffs has been captured and reproduced endlessly.
His likeness spans murals in Los Angeles and the United States, is frequently reprinted in Lakers memorabilia, and has become a symbol of the basketball star’s determination and passion.
This week, Sotheby’s auctioned the jersey pictured in the image, with an estimated market value of $5 million to $7 million, making it the most valuable Bryant jersey ever put up for auction, according to the auction house.
During the 2007-08 season, Bryant averaged approximately 28.3 points per game and scored 2323 points throughout the regular season. NBA.
According to Sotheby’s, the auctioned jersey is the only one Shaquille O’Neal wore during the 2008 playoffs, which led the Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time since he was traded.
The jersey is located front and center in the auction house’s exhibit, surrounded by photographs of other Bryant memorabilia and murals and paintings of iconic images of the Lakers star.
Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s Vice President and Head of Streetwear and Contemporary Collectibles, said:
“He was very passionate. If you actually look at this exhibit, you see this image associated with him. ,” Wachter told CNN.
The auction, which took place shortly after the third anniversary of Bryant’s death, was attended by nine people, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria Onoa Bryant. Died in helicopter crash Calabasas, California, January 2020.
“We always commemorate his legacy,” Wachter told CNN. “He meant so much to so many different people.”
Within an hour of the auction opening, Sotheby’s received a bid of $4.5 million, an auction house representative told CNN. If confirmed, it would be the highest amount ever paid for Bryant’s jersey.
The previous record was Bryant’s 1996-1997 basketball jersey, which sold for $3.7 million in 2021, according to Sotheby’s.
During his time in the NBA, Bryant won five championships, four NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, two NBA Finals MVPs, and two Olympic gold medals. His 18th All-Star selection, he was known for his scoring ability and championship pedigree.
But Bryant’s influence goes beyond the court and, as Wachter puts it, “he affects people beyond basketball.”
Kobe Bryant’s life in pictures
“He touches not just athletes, but executives, and businessmen who want to be the best versions of themselves,” he said, adding, “His constant quest to be the best versions of himself.” encapsulates Bryant’s self. A philosophy labeled “Mamba Mentality.”
“When you think about his legacy, part of what he left behind was his mentality. That’s what makes Kobe so special and what makes this jersey so special. I think,” continued Wachter.
Bryant’s jersey comes with a collection of photos, artwork, books and more. The lot is available for bidding from his February 2nd through 9th.
It will also be open to the public at Sotheby’s New York the first week of February.