King James continues to fall behind Kobe and Air Jordan when it comes to memorabilia sales according to a recent article in written by Jonathan Berr of the website Daily Finance.
According to "Antiques Roadshow" appraiser Leila Dunbar, below are the highest sales for a LeBron, Kobe, and Jordan game-used jerseys:
- LeBron James = $8,000
- Kobe Bryant NBA Finals Jersey = $30,000
- Michael Jordan = $70,000
One of the greatest indicators of a player's overall popularity is found by looking at the ceiling sales, in this case Jordan's more than doubles up Kobe and nearly sells for ten times that of LeBron.
The explanation for the disparity in sales in fairly easily to breakdown. Michael Jordan has a championship ring on 6 of his 10 fingers, Kobe can fill out one hand with rings, meanwhile LeBron's is bare. What makes LeBron's memorabilia even more uncertain is his recent departure from Cleveland and all the controversy that followed.
"I think it's going to take a sharp, disgusting blow," says Mike Guitierrez, consignment director at Heritage Auction Galleries and another Antiques Roadshow appraiser. He also added that the recent ESPN Signing special left "left everyone cold."
Antiques Roadshow's Dunbar is a bit less pessimistic, she suggests that collectors take a "wait and see approach". If LeBron and his new teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh deliver a championship to South Beach, this would change everything. She also noted that the reigning league MVP is still just 25 years old.
Nate Cannell, manager of Cardboard Heroes, a Cleveland area sports memorabilia store noted that since he slashed the price on his 'King James" memorabilia, it has actually sold extremely well.
"What they do with it after it leaves the store remains to be seen," Cannell said. Some fans in Cleveland have burned James jerseys, while others have turned his gear in at local bars offering free drinks in exchange.
The current state of LeBron memorabilia could either be the best investment one could make or one of the worst, it really comes down to whether or not you believe LeBron James is the chose one or not.