Kobe Bryant’s 1996 rookie Lakers jersey to be auctioned

Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions says the collector's item could sell for a record-breaking amount over $500K

A jersey worn by a rookie Kobe Bryant during the 1996 basketball season is set to be auctioned off to the highet bidder.

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Ken Goldin of Goldin Auctions shared with TMZ Sports that the collector’s item could sell for a record-breaking amount – likely over $500K. The No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers jersey was worn by the late basketball legend in his 23rd NBA game when the Lakers faced off against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Dec. 8, 1996, at The Forum.

Goldin Auctions officials said the jersey was also worn in at least 4 games during his rookie campaign and during his rookie photo shoot before the season started, according to an expert who matched it through photos.

Goldin told TMZ he expects the jersey to break the record set by Michael Jordan‘s Washington Wizards jersey from his last NBA game in 2003. That sold for $570K as the most expensive regular season NBA jersey of all time.

Kobe Bryant in his #8 jersey (Getty Images)

Bidding on all Kobe Bryant items including the jersey opens May 2 and closes May 23.

The listing reads: “This historic jersey has “LAKERS” and Bryant’s number “8” are sewn on the chest of the jersey in purple and white tackle twill, while “BRYANT” and a second “8” are sewn on the back of the jersey in the same fashion.

A gold NBA logo patch is sewn on the left shoulder of the jersey, which was worn during the 1996-97 season only, to honor the NBA’s 50th season. A Lakers “DESIGNED & TAILORED EXCLUSIVELY FOR LOS ANGELES LAKERS BODY LENGTH +3” tag and a Champion size “44” tags are sewn on the front left tail. To cap off this brilliant jersey, Bryant has signed the “8” digit on the front of the jersey in black marker on the lower white border.”

According to TMZ, the jersey is not the only memorabilia being auctioned off. Goldin shared that the company has over 360 pieces to sell, including a rare, mint-graded ’97-’98 Metal Universe Precious Metal Gems Kobe trading card. The card is expected to bring in over $300K.

Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a fatal helicopter crash in January 2020. As theGrio reported, Jordan will present Bryant for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame next month.

Members of a Hall class are asked to choose who they would like to accompany them to the stage and present them before their acceptance speech; when the inductee is being enshrined posthumously, as in Bryant’s case, family members are asked to make the decision on the presenter.

The Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant
Michael Jordan speaks during The Celebration of Life for Kobe Bryant at the Staples Center in 2020.

Jordan tearfully spoke for more than 11 minutes at the memorial for Bryant and his daughter in Los Angeles in February 2020.

“When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died,” Jordan said at the service. “And as I look in this arena and across the globe, a piece of you died, or else you wouldn’t be here. Those are the memories that we have to live with, and we learn from. I promise you, from this day forward, I will live with the memories of knowing that I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could.”

Per theGrio, Bryant’s widow Vanessa has announced the estate will not renew his contract with Nike.

Shared on April 20, “Bryant and the estate had grown frustrated with Nike limiting the availability of Kobe products during his retirement and after his January 2020 death in a helicopter crash. There was also frustration with the lack of availability of Kobe footwear in kids’ sizes, according to sources.”

Vanessa shared a statement with ESPN and supporters via her Instagram story, shedding light on the tough decision.

“My hope will always be to allow Kobe’s fans to get and wear his products,” Vanessa continued. “I will continue to fight for that. Kobe’s products sell out in seconds. That says everything. I was hoping to forge a lifelong partnership with Nike that reflects my husband’s legacy. We will always do everything we can to honor Kobe and Gigi’s legacies. That will never change.”

Kobe Bryant poses with his family at the retirement ceremony for both of his Laker’s jerseys.

Read More: Vanessa Bryant shares adorable photo of daughters in Kobe Lakers jerseys

According to CBS, the Bryant family has filed for trademarks on footwear and apparel for a number of logos and terms associated with Kobe Bryant, his career, and his family. The Kobe Bryant LLC has moved to trademark “Mamba and Mambacita,” “Kobe Bryant,” the NBA player’s signature, a black and gold alternative Mamba logo in honor of his Hall of Fame induction, and more.

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