The unique shooting shirt comes with an accompanying NFT and is expected to sell for six figures | Source: Boardroom

Kobe Bryant’s 81-Point Game Shooting Shirt Goes to Auction at Sotheby’s

Kobe Bryant’s 81 point game against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006, is one of the greatest single-game performances in NBA history. 

Now the only artefact from his incredible game for the Los Angeles Lakers is up for auction at Sotheby’s.

Sotheby’s states the one-of-a-kind ‘shooting shirt’ was worn by Kobe Bryant ‘the afternoon of his 81 point triumph’. According to sports memorabilia site The MeiGray Group, photo-matching work also pinpoints the shooting shirt to at least six other key dates including in the months following the 81-point performance.

The special single-lot auction, titled “81” will also include a one-of-one non-fungible token (NFT) developed by Karvin Cheung – the creator behind the Upper Deck Exquisite Collection Basketball cards.

Kobe Bryant shirt
Source: Sotheby’s

While Bryant’s spectacular accolades include five NBA championships and seven NBA Finals appearances, many fans consider the 81-point game his greatest achievement – the second-highest points scored by a single player in a game behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in 1962.

The shoes he adorned for the game, his signature Nike Zoom Kobe 1’s, live in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame reportedly requested the rest of his uniform however his wife said they should keep it.

The Hall of Fame requested my uniform and shoes, and I was going to send it to them because I said, ’This is pretty cool that a player who is still playing has stuff in the Hall of Fame… But my wife was like: ‘No, listen, we’re keeping the uniform. You can send the shoes if you really want, but the uniform is not going anywhere.’ So the uniform is framed and up in the gym in our house.

Kobe Bryant quote from an ESPN article

The other pieces of his game-worn attire are still believed to hang inside the Bryant residence.

Screenshot from Sotheby’s auction

While containing a unique item, this auction is also a first in other ways. Sotheby’s will also accept cryptocurrency as payment – the first time Sotheby’s will do so for sports memorabilia.

It’s also the first time the auction house has paired sports memorabilia with an accompanying NFT. The token, created by Mr Cheung, a renowned figure in the collectable world known as “The Architect”, incorporates elements of his Chinese heritage including the number eight and a red and gold pattern.

The red and gold color pattern is inspired by the Lucky Envelope. Lucky Envelopes are a tradition with any celebration including birthdays, marriages, or the birth of a child. It’s universal amongst all Chinese people for the Chinese New Year. The 8 represents fortune (prosper) thus it’s a reason why many people want the number to be part of their everyday life.

Mr. Cheung commenting on the design

The online auction will take place from 15–22 February 2022.

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