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The late athlete donned the purple and gold home jersey five times in the Lakers’ 1997 playoff run.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 5, 2022
After 26 bids, the 25-year-old jersey went for the record amount.
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Twenty-five years after the Mamba’s playoff debut, the only jersey ever photomatched to his 1996-97 rookie season playoff run is presented here. The incredible jersey has been conclusively photomatched to five games from the Mamba’s rookie campaign, including two playoff games. Kobe donned the signature purple and gold threads of this jersey on April 11, April 13, April 17, May 8, and May 10, 1997.
This jersey is a representation of the start of Kobe’s legendary 20-year NBA career. Although Kobe would go on to become one of the greatest players of all time, his career did not necessarily foreshadow the influence he would go on to have.
During the 1996-1997 NBA season, Kobe’s rookie year, he averaged 7.6 points, 1.9. rebounds and 1.3 assists and 41 percent shooting from the field.
In the 1997 playoffs, Kobe’s numbers stayed mostly the same, averaging 8.2 points, 1.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists on 38 percent shooting from the field in nine games.
He had an infamous in game 5 of the 1997 Western Conference Semifinals against the Utah Jazz where he airballed four shots in the span of five minutes. The Lakers would ultimately lose that game and the series.
This news comes as the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics battle against each other in the NBA Finals. The Warriors won game 2 of the series Sunday night, tying the series 1-1 as the Finals shift to Boston.