Photo-matched jerseys from Michael Jordan's most productive scoring season and the earliest known worn jersey from his rookie season each could bring $300,000 or more in Heritage Auctions
' Oct. 3 Michael Jordan & Basketball Icons Sports Catalog Auction.
"Michael Jordan's prowess on the court is matched only by collector demand for his memorabilia," said Chris Ivy, Heritage's Director of Sports Auctions. "Collectors often are drawn to items from the beginning of a star's career, making the top two lots here a uniform photo-matched to his best statistical season and a jersey he wore during the rookie season that launched his Hall of Fame career absolute must-have relics for the most serious collectors of Jordan and NBA history."
Jordan's 1986-87 Michael Jordan Game Worn Chicago Bulls Uniform (estimate: $300,000+) has been definitively photo-matched to five games beginning in November 1986 through March 1987, including his 56-point outburst against the Philadelphia 76ers March 24, and matched with probable certainty to several other games. Among the seemingly unending list of statistical accomplishments for Jordan, the 1986-87 was his most prolific as a scorer, as he scorched opposing defenses for an average of 37.1 points per game, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to score more than 3,000 points in a single season. It was the same season in which he gained recognition as an elite defender, becoming the first player in league history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in the same year.
The experts at Resolution Photomatching have declared five absolute matches from that season: Nov. 4 against San Antonio, Feb. 20 against the Los Angeles Lakers, Feb. 28 against the Milwaukee Bucks, March 24 against the Philadelphia 76ers and March 20 against the New York Knicks. Resolution also designates four other probable matches, and indicates there likely are several more. Games were not photographed as extensively as they are now, and the uncertainty surrounding some games is due to the limited inventory of game photographs.
The jersey also has been definitively photo-matched to the one Jordan in the image that appeared on the Nov. 17, 1986 cover of Sports Illustrated that captures Jordan driving to the rim in the Bulls' Nov. 4 game against the San Antonio Spurs. The jersey is accompanied by a pair of shorts also definitively identified in photos from several games during that season, as well as two Letters of Authenticity one for the jersey and one for the shorts from Resolution Photomatching, as well as an LOA from the consignor.
Chicago Bulls public relations assistant Corrine Zartler had been dispatched to deliver the photo-matched 1984 Michael Jordan Earliest Known Worn Chicago Bulls Rookie Jersey to a photo shoot featuring the team's prized rookie.
Jordan is shown wearing the jersey on the January 1985 cover of Hoop magazine, which Zartler recalls was shot in October 1984, during the Bulls' preseason, which started Oct. 4.
Jordan's career began during an era in which teams were far more frugal and players were issued just one or two home and away jerseys for the season a far cry from today's NBA, in which players often have so many jerseys available that they sometimes just toss them into the crowd after games. Because the offered jersey got smudged by a black marker, Zartler wrote in a letter of provenance that her irate supervisor told her she "might as well keep" the marked jersey, and that a rush order would be placed for a replacement as soon as possible.
Zartler's mother washed the jersey, largely removing the marks on the jersey, which is accompanied by a letter from Resolution Photomatching confirming it is the one Jordan wore in the Hoop photoshoot.
Collectors instinctively swarm to memorabilia that was the first for star players and coaches, making the first home jersey ever issued to basketball's biggest star a coveted prize for the most serious of collectors.
Also offered is a 1989-90 Michael Jordan Game Worn & Signed Chicago Bulls Jersey from Team Statistician, MEARS A10 (estimate: $80,000+). Before the Bulls won their first of six NBA championships, they were thwarted in the NBA playoffs by the Detroit Pistons. This red road garment comes from the final season in which Chicago fell short against Detroit, and was signed on the front by Jordan to team statistician Bob Rosenberg. The lot is accompanied by a letter from Rosenberg on team letterhead, detailing his employment with the team, his relationship with Jordan and the fact that Jordan gave the jersey to Rosenberg, who kept it since then in his personal collection.
Jordan led the league in scoring in 1989-90 with an average of 33.6 points per game and in steals with 2.8 per game. He once again led all players in the playoffs in scoring with a post-season average of 36.7 points per game, the second-highest in his career.