Sotheby’s is offering the most valuable LeBron James game-worn jersey to ever appear at auction, with its inaugural presentation of cross-category sale “The One.” The new annual event celebrates spectacular human achievements in history. Twenty pieces will be auctioned live on January 27, 2023, and displayed alongside Sotheby’s Masters Week exhibitions starting January 21.
The legendary basketball player’s shirt has all the good vibes from his 2013 NBA Finals Game 7 victory over the Miami Heat, where he hit a double-double with 37 points and 12 rebounds in the game, leading the team to a 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs. The game is among the most important performances of James’s career, taking place during what is often considered his greatest NBA season. Estimated to fetch $3–$5 million, the jersey is expected to be the star player of the sale.
Other singular objects in “The One” include an extremely rare pair of Chinese export goose-form tureens from the 18th century (estimated to earn $300,000–$500,000), a beautifully preserved ancient metal disc from the Guennol collection ($200,000–$300,000), and a magnificent 14th-century copper head of Buddha from the golden age of Thai art ($300,000–$500,000).
Sotheby’s currently holds the record for game-worn sports memorabilia, with Michael Jordan’s 1998 NBA Finals jersey garnering $10.1 million in September 2022. The house also holds the record for the most valuable sneakers sold at auction, with Michael Jordan’s Earliest Known Regular Season Game-Worn Nike Air Ships, which brought in a winning $1.5 million in October 2021.
Brahm Wachter, Head of Sotheby’s Streetwear and Modern Collectables Department, says that items used in a championship-clinching game are among the most coveted collector’s items since they represent the peak of an athlete’s career. “Game 7s are the most intense moments for an athlete, a true do-or-die scenario, so a jersey used in Game 7—an NBA Finals championship-clinching game—from an athlete of LeBron James’ stature is a really special item in the collecting community,” he said.