DALLAS – The most surreal NBA season in memory is scheduled to reach its climax by the beginning of October, when The Finals are set to finally burst The Bubble. But at that very moment, there will be considerable action off the court, as well, courtesy of Heritage Auctions’ Michael Jordan & Basketball Icons Sports Catalog event, which is open for online bidding now and goes into extended bidding Oct. 3.
Every one of the 375 lots offered in this sale is an enormous piece of the NBA’s history – quite literally in the case of the Staples Center floor autographed by Kobe Bryant. This one-of-a-kind item consists of four panels, each measuring 4-by-8 feet. It’s a remarkable keepsake from Bryant’s final game on April 13, 2016, for which the late Laker authored a storybook ending: 60 points followed by a heartrending speech after which he signed the numbers “8” and “24” emblazoned on the hardwood in The House Kobe Built.
The Los Angeles Lakers kept the signed section of the floor bearing the No. 24. But the signed No. 8 is now available, with the consignor offering 10 percent of the proceeds from the sale to the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit intended to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant's legacy through charitable endeavors in sports.
As the auction’s namesake, Jordan of course dominates this event as he did during his playing days and long after, with “The Last Dance” on a seemingly endless loop during much of 2020.
One of the top lots in this event is a Chicago Bulls uniform – complete with the jersey and shorts, a rare two-fer among collectors – Jordan wore during the 1986-87 season. What makes this garment so remarkable is the fact it has been photo-matched to at least five games during that season, including the March 24, 1987 dust-up with the Philadelphia 76ers during which Jordan dropped 56 points.
This is also the uni that adorns the Nov. 17, 1986 cover of Sports Illustrated – the one proclaiming Jordan as the “One Man Gang.”
Speaking of magazine covers: In this auction you’ll also find the earliest-known Jordan jersey to come to auction, from his 1984 rookie season. It’s the very top the baby-faced newcomer wore on the cover of the January 1985 issue of Hoop magazine and the front page of the team’s 1984-85 yearbook published before the first tip of the new season.
Not only is this jersey photo-matched to both photo shoots, but it comes with quite the story from Corrine Zartler, at the time a rookie public relations assistant for the Bulls tasked with setting up the shoots – and making sure the kid was properly attired for the moment.
Of course, there are several pair of Jordan’s shoes running throughout this special event, many of them signed. Few items in any category have been more coveted among collectors in the wake of “The Last Dance’s” unceasing popularity.
There is no better place to begin than with these game-worn Air Jordan 1’s dating to Jordan’s rookie season – specifically, the Bulls' March 5, 1985 game against the Washington Bullets at Chicago Stadium. There is also a pair of game-issued ’85 Air Jordan 1’s signed by Jordan, and a pair of 1989 game-worn Air Jordan IV’s signed by Jordan for a charity event.
There are signed photos and posters. An autographed yearbook from that rookie season. Signed balls and caps and an autographed golf bag. Even a signed check from 1998, payable to a casino owned by Donald Trump.
Something, truly, for everyone who ever wanted to Be Like Mike … or just own something he once touched.
“In recent months, we’ve seen extraordinary reaction from collectors who have so many great Jordan items that we were compelled to put together this dedicated, singular auction,” says Chris Ivy, Heritage’s Director of Sports Auctions. “And once we began assembling it, other consignors began stepping up with amazing pieces from throughout basketball’s rich history featuring some of the sport’s brightest lights and biggest names.”
There are items here, as well, from the other Greatest Of All Time, LeBron James: a signed game-worn Cleveland Cavaliers jersey, which King James gifted to teammate Daniel Gibson; a 2004 Topps Chrome Superfractor No. 23, graded PSA Gem Mint 10, of which there is but one in existence; and, from 2005, an oversized, autographed Nike “We Are All Witnesses” print of which there were only 25 made.
And then there are the kids and comers determined to prove themselves equal to the best who ever played.
This event features a Giannis Antetokounmpo game-worn Milwaukee Bucks jersey photo-matched to the Nov. 29, 2019 game against the Cavs. There’s a photo-matched jersey Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Dončić wore March 8, 2019 against the Orlando Magic during his Rookie of the Year season. And there are three tops worn by his Mavs predecessor and future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki, including a jersey from No. 41’s final season of 21 with a single team.
Each lot here triggers a highlight reel, a treasured memory, a nod of appreciation and affection. There are, of course, the high-dollar investment pieces – the complete set of PSA Gem Mint 10 1986 Fleer Basketball cards, featuring the Jordan rookie card that continues to set records with each sale, for instance, and many sealed boxes of sought-after wax packs alongside highly graded and highly coveted modern cards.
But there are also leather, red-white-and-blue American Basketball Association balls used during the 1973-74 and 1975-76 seasons. And a ball signed by Detlef Schremph awarded to him in 1995, when he hit 10,000 career points as a member of the Seattle Supersonics [Detlef’s last name is actually spelled Schrempf but not on the ball]. And rookie cards belonging to hardwood heroes such as Larry Bird and Magic Johnson (on the same card!) and the legend once called Lew Alcindor.
Items enough to fill a few halls of fame, from men already there.
To browse the entire online catalog for the Michael Jordan & Basketball Icons Sports Catalog Auction, go here.
Source: Heritage Auctions