Kobe Bryant Game-Worn Lakers Jersey To Be Offered At Sotheby’s NY | Est. $5-7 Million

The Most Valuable Kobe Bryant Jersey to Ever Appear at Auction.

On April 23, 2008, in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Denver Nuggets, Kobe Bryant sunk a three-pointer with just 5 minutes and 22 seconds on the clock in the fourth quarter, securing a 14-point lead (and the largest point differential thus far) for the Los Angeles Lakers. The images taken following the shot, showing Kobe screaming and grabbing his jersey in elation, have become some of the most iconic images of the athlete ever taken and commemorate one of the most memorable performances from his sole MVP season.

Kobe wore the same jersey, during the peak of his powers, for an astounding 25 games throughout an eight-month period. From Lakers Media Day on October 1, 2007, until the conclusion of the Western Conference Finals on May 29, 2008, he scored 645 points in this gold jersey over 6 playoff games, 14 regular season games and 5 pre-season games, and averaged 25.8 points per game.

This jersey has influenced popular culture in a way that is seldom seen in the sports community, becoming iconic and synonymous with the image of Kobe Bryant.

The raw passion captured in the photos has inspired artists and designers all over the world; from the United States to Canada, Italy, Sudan, United Arab Emirates, India, France, Spain, China, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Australia, this jersey has been featured in countless murals and artworks depicting the late basketball sensation. In California alone, there are more than 15 murals depicting him in this jersey, with wings, American flags, and snakes in the background.

Kobe Bryant Game-Worn Lakers Jersey To Be Offered At Sotheby's NY | Est. $5-7 Million

Perhaps the most visited Kobe Bryant mural is the Los Angeles-based painting by artist Jonas Never, located near the former Staples Center. In that mural, Kobe dons this jersey – with countless fan signatures and well-wishes drawn upon the same wall. Additionally, when Kobe was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame selected this moment to put on the program and VIP Passes for the evening, featuring Kobe wearing this legendary jersey.

From tattoos inked onto fans’ arms, to paintings, tickets, newspapers and t-shirts (LeBron James was spotted wearing a t-shirt with this jersey on it going into Game 4 of the 2020 NBA Finals), the jersey has seeped its way into the global popular zeitgeist.

Kobe was also wearing the jersey the evening he was awarded the regular season’s Most Valuable Player Award on May 7, 2008, during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, and again for his official MVP portrait. This is the only gold jersey Kobe wore in the 2008 NBA Playoffs where he led the Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time since Shaquille O’Neal was traded.

Carrying an estimate of $5/7 million, the signed jersey will now be offered on the market in a dedicated online auction titled ZENITH | PART I open for bidding from 2 – 9 February. The auction is part of a two-part series – paying homage to a variety of athletes whose careers have reached unparalleled success – with ZENITH | PART II featuring game-worn sports artefacts from stars such as Tom Brady, Michael Jordan, Roger Federer and more, opening the same dates.

The jersey will be placed on public view in Sotheby’s New York galleries from 1 – 7 February.

Kobe Bryant Game-Worn Lakers Jersey To Be Offered At Sotheby's NY | Est. $5-7 Million

Kobe’s Lasting Legacy

Throughout his 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant experienced a level of global superstardom that few athletes have ever achieved. Leaving an ineradicable mark on basketball and in the hearts and minds of fans, he brought a unique approach to the game with his passion and dedication which earned him 5 NBA Championships, 4 NBA All-Star Game MVP awards, 2 NBA Finals MVP awards, and 2 Olympic Gold Medals.

While Kobe was blessed with a natural gift for the game of basketball, perhaps more than anything else, he is remembered as the perfect embodiment of the competitive spirit. Unrelenting, unforgiving, determined, and ultimately demanding the most from himself – a philosophy he called “The Mamba Mentality,” Kobe pushed himself to be one of the greatest to ever play the game.

Kobe Bryant’s impact on the sport of basketball is indescribable, but his Mamba Mentality in many ways catapulted him to becoming one of the most influential people of all time, inspiring not just a generation of athletes, but anyone hoping to triumph in the face of adversity.

Kobe’s book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, lays out in ritualistic detail the lengths to which he perfected himself. If he spotted a weakness in his own game, he corrected it – no matter the cost. At one point, following a severe ankle injury in Game 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals, Kobe realized he had to improve his ankle strength.

Kobe writes in his book that after researching the matter, tap dancing became the clearest route to improving his ankle strength, and as such, he hired an instructor and began building his knowledge of the trade. Kobe’s dedication knew no bounds.


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