More than a decade after Michael Jordan's last flying dunk, his collectibles still earn top dollar. The jersey he wore from his final regular season game as a Chicago Bull in 1998 just sold at auction for a record $173,240.
"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 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 Knicks. Jordan went on that season to earn his 10th NBA scoring title and fifth Most Valuable Player award that season.
The purchase at this weekend's 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.
Jordan memorabilia can be a good investment. Goldin Auctions recently sold a pair of 1996 NBA Finals Air Jordans for 50 percent above its previous purchase price in June 2014.
The six-time NBA champion, who is considered by many the greatest basketball player of all time, doesn't only dominate the collectibles market. Jordan-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.
"There's never been more potential for the Jordan Brand," he said.
Nike recently opened up a Jordan-branded store in Chicago and plans to open stores in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto. The brand has recently expanded beyond basketball to include running, training shoes and lifestyle apparel.