- Sotheby's is selling a rare Kobe Bryant jersey worn during his 2007-2008 MVP season.
- The jersey is expected to be the most valuable piece of Bryant memorabilia ever sold at auction.
- Sotheby's expects the jersey to sell for between $5 million and $7 million in the online auction.
An iconic piece of Kobe Bryant memorabilia is hitting the auction block, and it's expected to be his most valuable item ever to go up for sale.
Sotheby's is listing a Kobe Bryant jersey, worn in 25 games during his 2007-2008 MVP season. The company said it expects the jersey to sell for between $5 million and $7 million in the online auction.
Images of Bryant in the jersey have garnered worldwide recognition since the basketball star's sudden death three years ago.
"To have this jersey from that iconic moment is not only really special, but it has also served as this point of inspiration all over the world of Kobe in this jersey," Brahm Wachter, Sotheby's head of streetwear and modern collectibles, told CNBC.
The now-famous image of Bryant was taken April 23, 2008, in Game 2 of the Western Conference series. With 5 minutes and 22 seconds remaining, Bryant sank a three-pointer securing a 14-point lead for the Los Angeles Lakers. The image from that moment of the basketball star screaming with glee and pulling at his No. 24 jersey is known the world over, commemorating his only MVP season.
Bryant wore the jersey in 25 games over an eight-month period, in which he averaged 25.8 points per game, Wachter said.
Since the five-time NBA champion's untimely death in a helicopter crash in January 2020, Bryant memorabilia has seen strong demand, with sales rivaling another legend — Michael Jordan.
Sotheby's made headlines in September for selling Michael Jordan's 1998 "Last Dance" jersey for $10.1 million, a record-breaking auction. But before that, a Jordan jersey from his professional career had yet to surpass $1 million.
"Kobe is someone who doesn't just inspire basketball players, he inspires other athletes, he inspires executives and business people. It's somebody that touches a lot of different people and so in that sense, I think perhaps he's one of the strongest markets, period," Wachter said.
Many investors have turned to the sports collectible markets in recent years as a way to diversify assets amid turmoil in traditional investing markets.
Sotheby's said demand for sports artifacts remains strong and that it's seen a number of private transactions at high levels.
Bidding for the jersey begins online Feb. 2 and lasts until Feb. 9.