June 21, 2024

Wilt Chamberlain’s 1972 NBA Finals jersey, worn in Game 2 and the clinching Game 5, exceeded expectations at auction at Sotheby’s, selling for $4.9 million on Wednesday night, a record for any item of Chamberlain memorabilia.

Chamberlain was named Finals MVP, his first and only Finals MVP Award, which wasn’t given out until 1969, a decade after Chamberlain started his NBA career.

The 1972 Finals were notable for the Los Angeles Lakers, whose roster boasted Gail Goodrich, Jerry West, Pat Riley and Chamberlain, coached by Bill Sharman; it was their first title in L.A. after Bob Short moved the franchise from Minneapolis in 1960, the same year the Lakers drafted West. They defeated the New York Knicks.

The previous record for Chamberlain memorabilia was the $1.792 million that his rookie-year Philadelphia Warriors uniform fetched with SCP Auctions in June, which also had been the most expensive game-worn vintage (pre-1980) NBA item sold prior to Chamberlain’s 1972 Finals jersey.

The $4.9 million uniform is the third-most expensive NBA jersey ever sold at auction, behind the autographed $5.8 million Kobe Bryant jersey from his lone MVP season (2007-08) and the $10.1 million “Last Dance” 1998 NBA Finals Michael Jordan jersey. All three were auctioned by Sotheby’s.

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