In his early NBA years, Michael Jordan never thought he can make more money on advertising and endorsements than by playing actual basketball. But that is the way it turned out to be.
Even after retiring, Jordan’s collectibles bring a lot of money. In particular – a #23 jersey he wore in his last regular season game in 1998 was sold at auction for a record $173,240, CNBC reported.
The size-50, Nike-label, signed, white jersey was worn by Jordan April 18, 1998. In that game, Jordan scored 44 points in a 111-109 come-from-behind victory over the NY Knicks.
“Out of all modern athletes (post 1980), Jordan is the No. 1-selling athlete by far in the collectibles market,” said Ken Goldin, founder of Goldin Auctions.
The purchase at the auction included a letter of authenticity from the Chicago Bulls and Upper Deck, which verified the signature. The item received 26 bids total.
Goldin said the previous record for any type of Michael Jordan collectible was $105,000 for a pair of the player’s size-13, game-worn sneakers, used in the 1997 NBA Finals when Jordan famously played with the flu against the Utah Jazz.
In July, Goldin Auctions sold another Jordan jersey from his final season for $102,000.
“This sale represents a 70 percent increase over previous Jordan sales. That’s significant,” said Goldin, who said sales of Jordan collectibles has earned his auction house seven figures.
Meanwhile, Jordan doesn’t only dominate the collectibles market. His branded gear is also a top-seller for Nike.
The Jordan brand holds a 58 percent market share in the more than $4 billion basketball shoe market. At Nike’s 2015 Investor Day, CEO Mark Parker said the Jordan brand will be a $4.5 billion business by 2020.
A six-time NBA champion, Jordan earned fame and fortune on the basketball court, as well as through endorsements and movies. The Hall of Fame player won the NBA Most Valuable Player award five times and was named an all-star 14 times.
His on-court success and commercial endorsements have made him one of the most recognizable and prosperous athletes in the United States. Jordan played in total 1072 NBA games (1039 started), averaging 30.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg in 38.3 minutes per contest.
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