Michael Jordan North Carolina jersey auctioned for $1.38 million

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A Michael Jordan North Carolina jersey was photo-matched to be the same one shown on the cover of "The Sporting News."
A Michael Jordan North Carolina jersey, photo-matched to be the same one on the cover of the Sporting News that declared him 1983 player of the year, was auctioned for $1.38 million. (Heritage Auctions / HA.com)

Someone just lucked out on buying a piece of history that declared Michael Jordan the 1983 player of the year. Saturday morning, Heritage Auctions sold a game-worn, photo-matched University of North Carolina jersey for $1.38 million, making it the highest-priced sale of a Jordan jersey ever.

The jersey was the one Jordan was wearing on the March 1983 cover of the Sporting News that proclaimed him the best player in the NCAA. As a freshman, Jordan led Dean Smith's Tar Heels to the 1982 national championship over John Thompson's Georgetown Hoyas team that featured Patrick Ewing. Jordan's game-winning shot against Georgetown is widely credited as the key moment that started his legacy. During Jordan's sophomore year — the season Jordan wore the auctioned jersey — the Tar Heels went 28-8 and reached the Elite Eight.

A game-worn Michael Jordan North Carolina jersey sold for $1.38 million
A game-worn Michael Jordan North Carolina jersey sold for $1.38 million (Heritage Auctions / HA.com)

"We’re extremely proud to have shattered the records for a Jordan game-worn jersey," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, said in a release.

This is the second time the blue-and-white jersey has set the precedent for the most expensive Michael Jordan jersey. It was first auctioned off in 1999 and went for $63,500. This go-round, Heritage expected it to sell for around $1 million.

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The jersey was sold as part of Heritage's Spring Sports Catalog Auction, which also featured Scottie Pippen's Dream Team Nike sneakers, a game-worn Michigan Wolverines helmet, a Top Shot 2014 highlight of Kevin Durant's three-point shot that gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a double-overtime victory over the Toronto Raptors, and the 1972 chess table used by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky in their heated match that reflected the tensions between the United States and Russia.

The previous high for a Jordan jersey was set in October when a game-worn, Chicago Bulls uniform was sold for $480,000, nearly three times less than His Airness' college jersey. The jersey and shorts were from the 1986-87 season when, even though the Bulls got swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, it was Pippen's rookie year and Jordan was the league's leading scorer.

The most expensive jersey to ever be auctioned off is a Babe Ruth New York Yankees jersey that sold for $5.64 million in 2019.

Jordan will be Kobe Bryant's presenter at his Hall of Fame induction on May 15.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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