Goldin Elite Auction Ending May 22-23
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This lot closes on May 22nd, 2021 at 10:00 PM EDT for initial bids.

Kobe Bryant entered the NBA as a mystery in the 1996-97 NBA season, fresh off winning the 1996 Pennsylvania high school basketball title with the Lower Merion Aces and being selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. Bryant, traded to the Lakers on draft night, started his NBA career conservatively, appearing in 65 of his 71 games during his rookie year as a substitute. The son of the former Philadelphia 76er Joe “Jellybean,” Bryant averaged 7.6 points per game in his inaugural season before earning a surprise All-Star nod in his sophomore year.

Hall of Fame General Manager Jerry West also brokered a deal that brought Shaquille O’Neal to the Lakers with visions of restoring the glory days from 1980’s. It wouldn’t take long for Bryant and O’Neal to develop into one of the most lethal pairings in NBA history. Bryant’s skill was evident early on in his NBA career, as the one-time Italy resident had a solid rookie season averaging 36 minutes, 17.6 points and 4.3 rebounds per game in his debut campaign, laying the foundation for future greatness – not only for Kobe and Shaq, but for the Lakers.

Kobe, of course, would go on to play 20 seasons in purple and gold, leading the Lakers to five NBA titles (two of which he was the NBA Finals MVP), an NBA MVP, an 18-time All-Star and an 11-time All-NBA First Team selection. Goldin Auctions is proud to offer the only photo matched jersey from the late Kobe Bryant’s rookie season. Not only is the jersey photo matched to four games early in the regular season, but also for a photo shoot on September 20th prior to the season – making this possibly one of, if not the first Lakers jersey worn by the soon-to-be superstar.

Sports Investors Authentication has photo matched this jersey to not only that September 20th, 1996 photo shoot, but to the December 8th, 1996 game (17th career game and 6th home game) where Kobe had 11 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds in the Lakers 110-86 win over Timberwolves, the January 3rd, 1997 game (25th career game, 8th home game) where he had 21 points, 5 rebounds and an assist in the 110-93 win over Sacramento. The next two games were the January 20th (32nd career game and 13th home game) and February 2nd games (37th career game, 15th home game), both Laker wins, where Kobe added 6 points and 13 points against the Dallas Mavericks and Washington Bullets respectively.

Additionally, Resolution Photmatching has photo matched the jersey to the following games: September 20th, 1996 (photo shoot), December 8th, 1996, January 3rd, 1997, January 20th, 1997, February 2nd, 1997, March 7th, 1997, March 12th, 1997, April 6th, 1997, plus 4 additional undated images (1 card- Upper Deck R10, 1 in-game captioned 1997, 2 from same undated 1997 photo shoot). Resolution also has  likely matches to the Marach 9th and April 2nd games.

This historic jersey has “LAKERS” and Bryant’s number “8” are sewn on the chest of the jersey in purple and white tackle twill, while “BRYANT” and a second “8” are sewn on the back of the jersey in the same fashion. A gold NBA logo patch is sewn on the left shoulder of the jersey, which was worn during the 1996-97 season only in honoring the NBA’s 50th season. A Lakers “DESIGNED & TAILORED EXCLUSIVELY FOR LOS ANGELES LAKERS BODY LENGTH +3” tag and a Champion size “44” tags are sewn on the front left tail. To cap off this brilliant jersey, Bryant has signed the “8” digit on the front of the jersey in black marker on the lower white border. A true piece of basketball history and this comes with a LOA from Sports Investors Authentication, who have photo matched this jersey to the aforementioned four games and pre-season photo shoot, plus a LOA from Resolution Photomatching, who photo matched this jersey to seven games, plus other images and other likely matches. Additionally, there is a LOA from Beckett Authentication for Kobe’s signature.

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Minimum Bid: $100,000.00
Current Bid: $180,000.00
Number Bids: 9
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