LeBron James is used to making history. But the Lakers forward doesn’t even need to be present for his history-making.
On Friday, the NBA star’s jersey from his spectacular Game 7 NBA Finals championship victory in 2013 for a record-breaking $3.7 million. The Miami Heat uni shattered the previous record paid for a game-worn James jersey, $630,000 for his 2020 NBA All-Star Game top.
“Today’s tremendous result comes at a pivotal time in LeBron James’ career, where he is in arm’s reach of clenching the all-time points record—one of the NBA’s most revered accolades,” Brahm Wachter, Sotheby’s head of streetwear and collectibles, said in a statement. “Just months after the record-breaking sale of Michael Jordan ‘Last Dance’ 1998 NBA finals jersey, this successful sale of another incomparable legend’s jersey—one of the most significant jerseys to ever hit the auction block—further proves that the demand for sports memorabilia is at an all time high, and that the magic of sports continues to transcend and ignite fans and collectors alike.”
The jersey was worn by James during his incredible performance in that Game 7 win, when the Miami Heat beat the San Antonio Spurs to clinch back-to-back championships. During the game, which was James’s first career NBA Finals Game 7 appearance, he recorded an impressive 37 points and 12 rebounds, contributing to his being named the NBA Finals MVP for the second year in a row.
With its new multimillion-dollar price tag, the jersey joins the ranks of some of the most valuable pieces in Sotheby’s history. In terms of jerseys, it sits just behind Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals top (which sold for $10.1 million in September) and Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” jersey (which sold for $9.3 million in May). And while the price for which James’s jersey hammered down is certainly eye-popping, it was toward the lower end of the pre-auction estimate, which ranged from $3 million to $5 million.
As Wachter noted, James is now nearing the all-time points record, and it’s anyone’s best guess how much someone will end up paying for the jersey he’s wearing when that happens.