When NBA fan Michael Cole couldn’t find anyone to go with him to the Oct. 26, 1984 game between the Chicago Bulls and Washington Bullets at Chicago Stadium, he bought a ticket and went by himself.
That decision now seems like one of the best moves he ever made.
A young player named Michael Jordan made his NBA debut that night, scoring 16 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out seven assists in the Bulls’ 106-93 win.
Thirty-seven years later, Cole sold the ticket to Jordan’s NBA debut for a record $468,000 in Heritage Auctions’ Winter Platinum Night Sports Auction.
The auction also featured a pair of Air Jordan 1s worn by Michael Jordan during the Chicago Bulls’ 116-107 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on April 1, 1986, which sold for $675,000, breaking the previous record of $615,000 set almost two years ago.
The ticket, the only known full ticket from Jordan’s NBA debut, shattered the previous record of $264,000 for a Jordan debut ticket.
And it came close to setting the record for the highest-selling ticket to a sporting event. The Jordan ticket held the record until a ticket to Jackie Robinson’s 1947 MLB debut sold for $480,000 in the same auction.
Cole had kept the Jordan ticket in a manila envelope for 37 years before having it authenticated and encapsulated PSA.
“What an unbelievably great outcome,” Cole said. “I’m incredibly excited and fortunate, and I can’t wait to share my good fortune with family and friends.”
“We knew when the Jordan ticket came in that we had something remarkable on our hands – and something likely to rewrite the record books, too,” said Chris Ivy, founder and president of Heritage Sports. “So it was as thrilling for us as it was for Michael when the ticket broke that barrier. It certainly deserved to as the only known survivor from one of basketball’s most historic debuts.”