LOS ANGELES – Julien’s Auctions will present Icons & Idols: Sports on Friday, Dec. 4. The marquee highlight of the event is the rookie NBA official Chicago Bulls game jersey presented to Michael Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and won the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award in each of those championships.
Jordan held up this very jersey – his very first official NBA Chicago Bulls game jersey – at his first press conference as a member of the team with Rod Thorn announcing that they had signed Jordan as their first-round draft pick with a multimillion-dollar contract.
This size “44” Rawlings brand jersey is a white mesh pullover featuring “BULLS” in red with his number “23” and on the reverse side emblazoned with “JORDAN” and the number “23.”
This piece of sports history and harbinger of the great things to come in the Hall of Famer’s illustrious 15-year NBA career has a presale estimate of $200,000-$400,000.
On Sept. 12, 1984, sports history was made in the arrival of a cultural phenomenon named Michael Jeffrey Jordan who signed his first professional contract with the Chicago Bulls. The 21-year-old basketball player’s signing would signify a game-changing turning point for the Bulls who that day had signed the best player in their entire franchise history. The two-time NCAA Player of the Year who played for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels was the No. 3 overall pick in the 1984 draft.
In his spectacular first season, M.J. became a sports superstar, leading the Bulls to the playoffs, winning the 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year award and starting in all 82 games and scoring an average of 28.2 points per game. That same year, the upstart Nike sneaker brand gave Jordan his own signature shoe and a $250,000 contract as a rookie – an unprecedented feat in the company’s and retail history – and created one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, the Air Jordans.
Nike’s first-year profit expectations in the $3 million mark were shattered when the “sneaker” craze for Air Jordans resulted in a remarkable $126 million in sales. Air Jordans are still one of the most popular and enduring brands with Jordan’s “Jumpman” logo instantly recognized and celebrated today. That first season, the rookie also doubled the team’s average game attendance and set off one of the most devoted fan-bases in all of sports history. Jordan’s business acumen and popularity elevated the NBA brand around the world and pioneered entirely new market categories, sponsorships, and other opportunities on and off the court for himself and other athletes to follow.
“There are only a few individual athletes who the world knows by just one name. Ali. Ruth. Namath. Jordan stands alone as basketball’s greatest superstar,” said Martin Nolan, executive director of Julien’s Auctions. “Nearly 40 years ago, history was made when Michael Jordan was presented this jersey in his signing with the Chicago Bulls and the world witnessed the beginning of a sports legend’s extraordinary career whose influence and impact continues to transcend beyond basketball and permeates pop culture today.”
Over 500 of the most highly collectible sports artifacts from the worlds of basketball, football, soccer, baseball, hockey and more will head to the auction finish line at this once in a lifetime sale of memorabilia, uniforms, medals, awards, and sports equipment.