After the success of The Last Dance, Michael Jordan memorabilia has been fetching record prices as sports fans look to get their hands on history. Last week one of Michael Jordan’s University of North Carolina jerseys from the 1982-83 season (where he won NCAA Player of the Year) eclipsed previous auctions records, nabbing $1.38 million through Heritage Auctions.
Renewed interest in the MJ early years can be traced back to the popularity of The Last Dance, with the widely streamed ESPN documentary focusing on Jordan’s rookie years as a college star. The sale of Michael Jordan’s college jersey from 1982-83 reflects the increased demand, with the jersey posting a price nearly three times the previous record for a game-worn MJ jersey.
Among them the headline-grabbing sale of Michael Jordan’s University of North Carolina jersey from his 1982-83 NCAA Player of the Year season. According to USA Today, the previous record had been set in October when a No. 23 Chicago Bulls jersey from 1986-87 went for $480,000.
“It’s got scarcity, it’s one of a kind, it’s photo-matched,” Heritage director of sports auctions Chris Ivy told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s a great investment. That’s another angle. It’s something that you’re investing in. I think this is as solid as it gets.”
“Over the last several years, Heritage has set dozens of world records in the red-hot Michael Jordan collectibles market, and now we’re extremely proud to have shattered the records for a Jordan game-worn jersey,” Ivy says.
“As the final price tag proves, this jersey has everything any serious collector could want.”
The Carolina blue singlet is complete with white trim and includes the legendary ’23’ on the back, alongside a capitalised JORDAN. According to the description, “strong, consistent wear is apparent throughout, every tackle twill identifier and the maker’s label supple to the touch from a repeated cycle of sweaty wear and laundering.”
Jordan famously wore the college jersey on the March 1983 cover of the Sporting News, the very issue that declared him the best player in the NCAA. The season Jordan wore the jersey was covered in great detail during The Last Dance, with commentators agreeing it was the beginning of MJ’s legacy.
“This garment memorialises the season that Jordan dropped the Mike and became Michael,” reads the auction description,” the living embodiment of basketball greatness, a builder of empires.”