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Kobe Bryant rookie jersey to be auctioned

LAGUNA NIGUEL, CALIFORNIA (AP) – A jersey worn by Kobe Bryant (AP pic below) in his rookie season, including two playoff games, will be sold at auction.

The jersey from the 1996-97 season could fetch between USD3 million and USD5 million in an online auction that begins May 18, David Kohler of SCP Auctions said on Saturday.

“We feel this could bring a record for any basketball jersey,” he said.

Kohler said the seller, who wants to remain anonymous, has had the jersey for 25 years.

The seller approached Kohler after seeing another of Bryant’s rookie jerseys went for USD3.69 million last year. That autographed, yellow game-worn jersey fetched the highest price ever for a basketball jersey.

Also last year, a rookie trading card of Bryant’s sold for USD1.8 million. Neither of the 2021 sales were conducted by SCP Auctions.

The upcoming auction features the number 8 jersey Bryant wore for the Los Angeles Lakers in regular-season wins at the old Forum on April 13, 1997, against Utah and April 17, 1997, against Sacramento.

He donned the same jersey at home on May 8 and May 10 in the Western Conference semifinals against Utah. The Lakers won the first game, with Bryant scoring 19 points. They lost the second game in which he had nine points. They went on to lose the series, 4-1, to conclude Bryant’s rookie year.

The jersey’s authenticity has been verified by independent authenticators, who photo-matched it, Kohler said. That process involves examining an item’s unique characteristics. It was also matched to a 1997 trading card featuring Bryant wearing the jersey. It features a logo representing the NBA’s 50th anniversary.

Kohler said the market for Bryant memorabilia remains “very, very strong” two years after his death.

“As long as it’s the real stuff,” Kohler said. “He’s beloved.”

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