Victor Wembanyama’s rise to stardom in the NBA has taken another extraordinary turn. The French rookie’s jersey from his first regular-season game has been sold for a jaw-dropping $762,000 at a Sotheby’s auction, surpassing all expectations. The initial estimate of $80,000-$120,000 was blown out of the water as bidders vied for the San Antonio Spurs’ white jersey, making it one of the highest sums ever paid for an NBA rookie debut jersey. The current record for any game-worn rookie jersey stands at $3.6 million, achieved in 2021 for a Kobe Bryant jersey.
The jersey that caused such a frenzy belonged to the formidable 7’4″ Wembanyama, who wore it during a game against the Dallas Mavericks on October 25. The auction witnessed an intense battle, with 62 bids driving up the price during the final minutes. Remarkably, Wembanyama is only 19 years old but has already made a significant impact, averaging impressive stats this season, including 18.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per game.
This sale comes on the heels of another highly-publicized auction, where a jersey worn by Wembanyama during his NBA Summer League debut was sold for $62,000. Sotheby’s recent collaboration with the NBA as the official game-worn jersey partner kicked off with this momentous auction. In addition to Wembanyama’s jersey, nearly 60 other jerseys were sold, resulting in a total auction revenue exceeding $1.2 million. The event attracted 176 bidders from 14 countries, underlining the global popularity and demand for NBA memorabilia.
While Wembanyama’s debut jersey stole the spotlight, jerseys worn by other renowned NBA players in their season openers fetched more modest amounts. LeBron James’ jersey, for instance, sold for $50,820, while Damian Lillard’s Milwaukee Bucks jersey brought in $30,480. Jerseys worn by Giannis Antetokounmpo sold for $25,400, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic’s fetched $17,780, Steph Curry’s went for $27,940, and Jayson Tatum’s garnered $8,890.
The soaring prices for these game-worn jerseys reflect the fervent collectors’ market and the high value placed on items connected to basketball legends. This trend is evident not only in the NBA but also in other sports, as fans and collectors seek to own a piece of history and pay tribute to their favorite athletes. As the popularity of the NBA continues to grow worldwide, it comes as no surprise that memorabilia associated with rising stars like Wembanyama commands such staggering prices.
The astronomical price for Wembanyama’s debut jersey serves as a testament to the young player’s immense talent and potential. At just 19 years old, he has already become a sensation in the basketball world, capturing the attention of fans and collectors alike. It will be fascinating to see how Wembanyama’s career unfolds and whether he can live up to the lofty expectations set by this record-breaking auction.