The Number 8 jersey was 'photo-matched' to 4 games during the Black Mamba's rookie campaign.
A jersey worn by Kobe Bryant in his rookie season, including two playoff games, has been sold at auction for $2.73 million.
SCP Auctions said on Sunday the buyer wished to remain anonymous as did the seller, who had the jersey for 25 years.
David Kohler of SCP Auctions had estimated the jersey from the 1996-97 season would fetch between $3 million and $5 million.
Another of Bryant’s rookie jerseys went for $3.69 million last year. That autographed, yellow game-worn jersey fetched the highest price ever for a basketball jersey.
The winning bidder this time acquired 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.
The jersey’s authenticity was verified by independent authenticators, who photo-matched it, Kohler said.
READ MORE: Bryant heads 2020 Hall of Fame honourees
Kobe's only known rookie playoff matched jersey finishes at a price fitting of the Mamba Mentality 🐍#LakeShow #lakernation #MambaMentality pic.twitter.com/74YYWVe8SS— SCP Auctions (@SCPAuctions) June 5, 2022
A Lakers loyal
A five-time NBA champion, Bryant was killed on January 26, 2020 in a California helicopter crash that also took the lives of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
He scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in a 2006 game – the second greatest scoring performance in a single NBA game after Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points against the New York Knicks in 1962.
Known as the Black Mamba, Bryant was a Lakers loyal as he spent his entire career with the same franchise.
The 18-time NBA All-Star won five NBA titles with the Lakers in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, and 2010.
He also helped the US national team win two Olympic gold medals in Beijing 2008 and London 2012, and retired from the game in 2016.
READ MORE: Kobe Bryant and his daughter among nine killed in helicopter crash