One of Kobe Bryant's iconic jerseys was sold at a Sotheby's auction for $5.8 million Thursday, becoming the most expensive memorabilia of the late basketball star.
The previous record for a Bryant collectible was held by a worn and autographed jersey from his 1996-1997 season that was sold in 2021 for $3.7 million.
The 5-time NBA champion had worn his new record-setting jersey in 25 games during the 2007-2008 season. One of the most memorable shots of Bryant's only MVP season was marked on April 23, 2008 in a playoff game against the Denver Nuggets.
After Bryant made a critical 3-point shot, the NBA star pumping his chest and screaming while wearing the jersey has become an iconic image in popular culture -- featured in posters, magazines, paintings, murals and even tattoos.
"From the United States, to Canada, Italy, Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, India, France, Spain, China, the Philippines, Malaysia and Australia, this jersey is featured in countless murals depicting Kobe Bryant," Sotheby's said in a statement.
The US-based auction house said there are over 15 murals depicting Bryant in that jersey across the state of California alone -- home to his NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent the entirety of his 20-year NBA career.
Sotheby’s previously estimated that the 18-time NBA All-Star's jersey would sell for around $5 million to $7 million.
Bryant's jersey has become the second most valuable jersey at an auction after Michael Jordan's 1998 'Last Dance' jersey was sold last September for $10.1 million, which he wore in the first game of the 1998 NBA Finals, where he earned his sixth championship at the end of the series.
After Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in early 2020 at the age of 41, Jordan in tears said at his memorial service: "Kobe left nothing in the tank. He left it all on the floor...When Kobe Bryant died, a piece of me died," AA reports.
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