Kobe Bryant rookie jersey expected to fetch millions at auction

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. — A rookie jersey worn in play by the late Kobe Bryant is expected to sell for at least $3 million in an auction that closes June 4.

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David Kohler of SCP Auctions told NBC Sports on Saturday that the 1996-97 jersey, which was also worn during two playoff games, could attract bids as high as $5 million.

“We feel this could bring a record for any basketball jersey,” he said, noting that the seller, who wishes to remain anonymous, has owned the sought-after memorabilia for 25 years.

According to CBS Sports, Bryant’s estate already holds that record after an autographed, yellow game-worn Bryant rookie jersey sold for $3.69 million in 2021.

In addition, a rookie trading card of Bryant’s sold for $1.8 million last year, but SCP Auctions was not involved in those sales, NBC Sports reported.

Per the listing, the upcoming auction features Bryant’s No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers jersey, which he wore in a regular-season win at the old Forum on April 13, 1997, against the Utah Jazz and April 17, 1997, against the Sacramento Kings. He then wore the same jersey at home on May 8 and May 10 in the Western Conference semifinals against the Jazz.

SCP Auctions will allow potential buyers to view the jersey by appointment only in Laguna Niguel, California, CBS Sports reported.

According to the network, the most expensive jersey from any sport ever auctioned was a Babe Ruth game-worn New York Yankees jersey from 1920 that sold for more than $4.4 million in 2012.

Independent authenticators have verified the Bryant jersey’s authenticity by photo-matching it, Kohler said.

Bryant died Jan. 26, 2020, in a California helicopter crash that also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.